Cheltenham Festival 2020

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Entries & Recent Form

The New Year is now upon us and with the Cheltenham Festival only nine weeks away I continue to be pleased by the form of the stable. Indeed, what better way to say goodbye to 2018 than with a winner at Uttoxeter and hello to 2019 with a double at Exeter on New Year’s Day?

Out With The Old

Delface was our New Year’s Eve winner at Uttoxeter for syndicate “Pipe’s Prospectors”. He has always been a little ‘in and out’ but there was nothing wrong with his effort in the two mile handicap hurdle. Always prominent under Tom Scudamore, he quickly put the race to bed when asked for his effort in the straight and won with his ears pricked. He does hold further entries and will be out again before long. He seems ideally suited by a stiff two miles on testing ground.

In With The New

I couldn’t have been more pleased to welcome in the New Year with a double at Exeter courtesy of Extra Mag and New Age Dawning. Extra Mag (pictured above) had been most unfortunate not to make a successful British debut when unseating Tom Scudamore at the last in a decent contest at Wetherby with the race at his mercy. He atoned for that reversal with a smooth novices’ hurdle success at Exeter, despite a similar error at the last. He is an extremely talented youngster and open to plenty of improvement after only three career starts.

Our other winner on the card came in the bumper when New Age Dawning made a winning debut for the stable. A runner-up on his only previous start in an Irish point-to-point, he kept on finding when pressed to win with a bit in hand. He is a lovely chasing type for the future, but this was a pleasant surprise. He can certainly improve with experience and is a promising young stayer in the making.

With promising efforts from Great Tempo finishing third in the amateur riders’ race at Ludlow and Glen Vine fourth in a competitive looking maiden hurdle Exeter, the horses continue to go well.

Unfortunately Rathlin Rose didn’t perform to his best in the valuable veteran’s final at Sandown on Saturday. The drying ground wasn’t really to his liking and he failed to give his running (he had beaten the first two home in a qualifying race in the series at Ascot last March). We will now have to consider going for the military races at the track once again and I know that the inspirational Captain Guy Disney is keen to rekindle the partnership.

The Week Ahead

We begin this week with a couple of runners this afternoon (Monday) at Chepstow with Druide Premier and Picture Painter.

Tuesday is set to be a big day for the stable with three high-profile youngsters looking to enhance their reputations. The exciting mare Queens Cave makes her hurdling debut in the 2m4½f mares’ novices’ hurdle at Ayr. A winning pointer who showed excellent form in bumpers, I can’t wait to see how she gets on over hurdles under Tom Scudamore. Meanwhile, over at Bangor Know The Score bids to add to his tally over hurdles in the 2m7f novices’ hurdle. He looks sure to benefit from the longer trip and remains an exciting prospect. Catch The Swallows is our other runner in the bumper and he is another nice chasing type for the future. He showed a likeable attitude to finish runner-up in an Irish point-to-point. Both Bangor runners will be partnered by David Noonan.

Legal History and Delface hold multiple engagements during the week, whilst Three Star General is a likely runner in the 2½ mile selling hurdle at Leciester on Thursday.

It is looking like a quieter weekend with just juvenile hurdler Legal History entered at Kempton and Un Temps Pour Tout engaged in the Grade 3 staying handicap chase at Warwick on Saturday. We will make a decision on their participation a little nearer the time, but Un Temps is nearing a run again and I am looking forward to seeing our dual Cheltenham Festival winning hero back on track soon.

Winter Sun

My partner Leanne is currently away for a few days with our children enjoying a bit of winter sun before the new school term begins. My mother and father are with them too and you can imagine the mirth that Matt Chapman and Mick Fitzgerald’s banter on Attheraces about MCP this afternoon caused. Chapman suggested that my dad would be watching the action at Chepstow and he was right…he is never more than a few feet away from a television broadcasting the racing and he was sat in PJ’s Bar in Lanzarote listening in as Chapman and Fitzgerald were singing his praises…I wonder if a special guest slot is looming?!

As usual for all the latest news on stable runners or gossip from the yard, don’t forget to keep up to date with Chester’s Daily Chat or follow us on Twitter @DavidPipeRacing.

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