Entries & Recent Form

The stable enjoyed a couple of nice winners last week courtesy of Tobacco Road and What A Moment . It was fantastic to get on the board at the first time of asking at Cheltenham’s November meeting, a fixture at which the stable has so often excelled in the past. The horses continue to run well and there were a number of other notable performances too, none more so than the brave performance of Starchitect in the big one itself – it really was a close of so near, yet so far.

Tobacco Road started the ball rolling for the week when running out a ready winner of the 2m½f handicap hurdle at Taunton on Thursday under Tom Scudamore and in the process opening his account over timber. A useful performer on the level, he had posted several good efforts over hurdles without getting his head in front, but he clearly benefitted from a short break after a flat campaign to produce a pleasing effort. He is still relatively lightly raced over hurdles and can win again.

The following day What A Moment produced a career best effort to make it back-to-back wins in the amateur riders’ handicap chase on the first day of Chetlenham’s November fixture under Richard Harding. Running from a 5lbs higher mark this time around on his first start of the season, he jumped and travelled like a dream to the extent that he was well clear at the second last. As he started to get lonely in front, he began to idle and it was one of the longest final furlongs I can ever recall! Fortunately he managed to hold on by a rapidly diminishing half a length to give us a great start to the meeting. This was an excellent seasonal debut and he should continue to be a force in staying handicap chases this season, although he probably wouldn’t want the ground much more testing than he experienced here.

Starchitect very nearly crowned the week with a stellar performance in the BetVictor Gold Cup on Saturday. Racing handily throughout, he joined issue 3 out and looked to be going best of all shortly after. Unfortunately a mistake at the penultimate fences cost him momentum and most likely, the race. He rallied bravely all the way up the run-in to narrow the gap to victor Splash Of Ginge to only a neck but the line came just too soon. It is frustrating when you have the best horse in the race but you don’t win, but jumping is the name of the game and Starchitect produced a career best trying to concede 10lbs to the winner. I would envisage that he will return to Cheltenham next month for a crack at the December Gold Cup. He is as tough as old boots and a real favourite in the yard and I can’t think of many horses in training who deserve a big race success more than him.

Earlier in the week Timeforben (3rd at Exeter) and Midnight Magic (3rd at Taunton) had both produced creditable efforts and look like they will be winning races sooner rather than later, with the latter improving significantly for a step-up in trip. Rathlin Rose was another to post a decent seasonal debut when finishing third in the Southern National at Fontwell on Sunday and is also entitled to improve.

You may have noticed a set of unusual colours at Uttoxeter on Sunday when our gelding, Eur Gone West contested the bumper. Owner Jane Gerard-Pearse won a bespoke set of her own colours which she designed as part of a competition, featuring a particularly fetching sun flower design.  As you can see from the photograph above of David Noonan in the paddock before the race, there is little chance of missing him during any of Eur Gone West’s future engagements.

Also last week, there were poignant moments at Taunton when Arthur and Peggy White were remembered in the feature handicap chase on the card. Arthur and Peggy were great supporters of the yard with wonderful horses such as Beau Ranger during my father’s time at the helm and that tradition continues today with John, Anne and Sarah continuing to have horses at Pond House, including the likes of Grade One winners Dynaste and Tamaribleu. It was a fantastic way to remember some wonderful racing people and pictured below are Anne and Sarah presenting the prize to the winning connections.

Looking ahead to this week it is looking a little quieter. We have had a couple of runners at Leicester this afternoon (Monday), although we will have no representatives tomorrow. Things should start to get busier around the weekend with engagements at Ascot and Haydock on Saturday and Exeter and Uttoxeter on Sunday. Former Albert Bartlett third, Champers On Ice could well make his seasonal debut in the Betfair Stayers’ Hurdle (or Fixed Brush hurdle as it is better known) at Haydock on Saturday, while the biggest race of them all, the ‘Gail Harrison - A Lifetime In Racing handicap hurdle’ takes place at Exeter on Sunday!

As usual, for all the latest news from the stable, keep up to date with Chester’s Daily Chat or follow us on Twitter @DavidPipeRacing.

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