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Grands Crus still in mix for King George

Grands Crus could still line up in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on St Stephen's Day.

David Pipe's exciting grey was pulled up as the 7/4 favourite for the Paddy Power Gold Cup on his return at Cheltenham, but has since undergone a wind operation.

Pipe said Grands Crus, which won the Grade One Feltham Novices' Chase at Kempton last season, is making good progress and remains in contention for the King George.

"Leading wind specialist Geoff Lane found a problem and he has since had a minor corrective procedure," Pipe said. "He is progressing well and there is still a chance that he will make the King George at Kempton, although we will give him all the time he needs.

"He is far too good a horse to risk bringing back too quickly, so we will just let him tell us when he is ready."

Meanwhile, Tom Mullins reports Alderwood to be none the worse after stumbling and slipping up on the Flat after the final fence on his chasing debut at Navan.

The JP McManus-owned gelding was staying on well in third place behind the highly-regarded Sword Of Destiny and Darwins Fox under a sympathetic ride from Tony McCoy when he came down.

"Thank God he's fine. There's nothing wrong with him. I got a bit of a shock yesterday but he seems 100pc," said trainer Mullins.

"It was just the bad ground. He put his foot in a hole. He was making up a bit of ground and then just tripped up."

Mullins plans to give last season's County Hurdle winner his second run over fences sometime next month, probably over two miles with Leopardstown the preferred option.

Irish Independent