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French Champion Hurdle: Pipe snaps up McCoy for Auteuil

Champion jockey Tony McCoy will ride Grands Crus when he goes for French Champion Hurdle glory at Auteuil this weekend.

The grey was a brilliant winner of the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham in January and went on to chase home legendary stayer Big Buck's in both the World Hurdle at the Festival and at Aintree.

He heads across the Channel in a bid to secure a Grade One prize of his own and his trainer David Pipe, who will also saddle Or Noir De Somoza in the Grade Two Chase, is looking forward to the challenge.

“I am delighted that in the absence of stable jockey Tom Scudamore, we have been able to secure the services of 16-times champion jockey AP McCoy for the ride aboard Grands Crus,” Pipe said on his website.

“He is very well at home and will certainly appreciate the softer ground that is inevitably prevailing at the French racecourses.

“There is a strong overseas contingent present among the entries with leading Irish trainer Willie Mullins represented by Thousand Stars, Mourad, Final Approach as well as that incredible mare Quevega.”

Meanwhile, Noble Storm is having a short spell on the easy list after contracting a virus.

Trainer Ed McMahon has decided to give last month's Listed winner more time and will bypass the Dubai Duty Free Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh on June 26.

“I had pencilled him in for a race over at the Curragh, but he had one or two little coughs after he won at Haydock, so I've given him a week off,” said McMahon.

“He had a virus on his lungs last year and he'll get right again, so I'll just bypass that race. I'm going to make a double entry in the Nunthorpe, with him and Astrophysical Jet.”

McMahon is to wait until later on in the campaign to give Temple Meads his first run of 2011.

The juvenile won the Mill Reef Stakes, but disappointed in the Middle Park on his final start.

“I think if we have a couple of runs later on or at the backend and go to town with him as a four-year-old,” said McMahon.

Belfast Telegraph


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