Entries & Recent Form

The good form of the stable continued last week with the successes of Red Square Revival and Dell’ Arca at Plumpton and Newbury respectively, while there were a number of other creditable performances. With the November meeting at Cheltenham taking place this week and a whole host of other big races on the horizon, it is certainly a very exciting time of the season and with the horses in good order there is plenty to look forward to.

We kicked last week off with a winner at Plumpton on Monday with Red Square Revival opening his account over fences with success in the 2m3½f handicap chase. Our gelding made most of the running and jumped particularly well until headed between the last two obstacles. With his chief rival getting in too close at the last and unseating his rider, Red Square Revival was left well clear to score a comfortable success. It is hard to know what the result may have been had his rival stayed on his feet – the race certainly had not been put to bed and Red Square Revival was rallying well under Tom Scudamore and he felt that we may well have won anyway. He is a lovely chasing type and still only lightly raced and with that success under his belt I am hopeful that he will continue to improve and win plenty more races.

Dell’ Arca (pictured above), for so long a favourite at Pond House, rolled back the years at Newbury on Thursday with a ready success in the Pertemps handicap hurdle qualifier under Tom Scudamore. Always travelling sweetly, he moved into contention in the straight and cleared right away despite hanging slightly to his left in the closing stages. From a mark of 140, this ranks right up there among his best performances and he remains unexposed as a stayer having only tried 3 miles on a handful of occasions, including when successful at Ascot four runs back. For all that he seems to have been around forever, he is still only an eight year old and is a firm favourite at Pond House. He is eligible for the final at the Cheltenham Festival but he takes his racing well and will have plenty of options before then, including over fences.

There were several other notable performances last week, not least from Lady Of Longstone who narrowly failed to concede the best part of two stone to Roparta Avenue at Fontwell on Friday. She looked the likeliest winner that day and it could just be that the trip of almost 3m2f was just beyond her. She is due to go up 3lbs in future handicaps, although she is still feasibly treated from below her last winning mark. Expect to see her back over slightly shorter next time. It’s Obvious also shaped with promise at Wincanton on Saturday, finishing fourth in what looked like a decent novices’ hurdle. Placed in an Irish point-to-point, he was entitled to improve for this first start in almost 600 days and should be winning races before too long.

One that did perform slightly below expectations was Daklondike at Chepstow on Tuesday having bolted up in a staying chase at Wetherby the Saturday before. Unfortunately he was never jumping or travelling with the same zest as at Wetherby and he looked beaten from some way out. While he is undoubtedly a little quirky, it is to his credit that he did plug on in the straight to finish fourth, although he is certainly better than the result suggests. We were to some extent forced to run by the handicapper who put him up by 12lbs for his Wetherby success, meaning that he was effectively 5lbs ‘well-in’ under his penalty. He is a talented young horse who should be winning more races over fences.

Looking to this week, there are no runners from the stable today (Monday). Purple ‘N Gold will be our first racecourse representative this week when he takes in the 2m4f handicap hurdle at the replacement Worcester meeting. He will be partnered by stable amateur jockey Rex Dingle and should give him a nice spin. Incidentally, you have to feel sorry for Hereford racecourse who were due to host this fixture but had to abandon due to unseasonably fast ground. Given the amount of rain to hit most of the country, it beggars belief that the ground should be bordering on firm! Gabrial The Great also runs on Tuesday as we hope to take advantage of a lower hurdle mark in the 2m3½f handicap hurdle at Lingfield. He has been running well all season long without quite getting his head in front – I would be thrilled if he could put that right!

We have plenty of entries at the local meetings at Exeter and Taunton on Wednesday and Thursday before Cheltenham’s Open meeting gets underway on Friday. The stable has a long tradition of success at the fixture and I will be doing my best to keep that going. It will be a quiet start to the meeting for the stable with What A Moment (and possibly Dell’ Arca) our only runners of day one. What A Moment was an impressive winner of the amateur riders’ chase last season under Richard Harding and they will bid for a follow-up this time around.

Starchitect is an intended runner in the BetVictor Gold Cup on Saturday. He was a good winner at Stratford a fortnight ago and deserves his chance in the line-up having run in top handicap company over hurdles and fences. Poker Play is a likely runner in the intermediate hurdle on the same afternoon. He also holds an entry in the Greatwood Hurdle on Sunday, although he is currently out of the weights and unlikely to run there unless they rise significantly. He has done well in the off-season and should make a nice handicapper this term. Vaniteux could run on Sunday in the Shloer Chase.

Over at Fontwell, Rathlin Rose could well contest the Southern National on Sunday. There are plenty of other entries, so for all the latest gossip from around the yard and news of running plans, do keep up to date with Chester’ Daily Chat or follow us on Twitter @DavidPipe Racing.

One of the things we try to do to keep the horses keen and motivated is to alter their training regimes and one of the best ways of doing that is by giving them a day out exercising with the hounds. Only this morning we sent Dell’ Arca, Great Tempo, Lady Of Longstone, Daklondike and Aero Majestic out and as you can see from the photograph below, they all look magnificent and had a great time. With a couple of recent winners (and seconds) among them, it is clearly doing no harm whatsoever.

Finally, a word on a couple of old favourites…I was pleased to see local favourite Melodic Rendezvous retired in one piece after the weekend. While not trained by us, he was a popular horse around the area and was a great servant to connections.

I was saddened to hear last week that Copeland, who was trained by my father to win such big races as the William Hill handicap hurdle and Scottish Champion Hurdle has been put down at the age of 22. He was a marvellous horse who ran in all the top handicaps and was rated 160 at his best. I still vividly recall his Sandown success as I am sure Sir Anthony McCoy will! AP had wasted for days in the run-up to the race to ride stablemate Rodock (who was sent off favourite), only to get short-headed by Copeland and David Casey – great memories for the stable if not AP! He was a lovely horse who enjoyed a long and happy retirement with his owners Heather & Emma Silk.

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