Entries & Recent Form

There are just two weeks to go now until the Cheltenham Festival and while we will not be sending a huge team this year, it remains the fixture that everyone wants to win at and with that in mind I couldn’t be happier with the form of the stable at this time. Another three winners last week courtesy of Airton, Umbrigado and Eamon An Cnoic bears testament to this and we will do our utmost to ensure the momentum continues to the end of the season and beyond.


Among The Winners

Airton (pictured left) started the ball rolling with a pleasantly surprising success in the novices’ hurdle at Taunton on Tuesday. A four time winner over staying trips on the flat, we purchased him from the Tattersalls Horses In Training Sales in October and he is already starting to look like a very good buy. The Taunton race was a warm looking contest on paper with previous winners in the line-up, but Airton travelled nicely up with pace and jumped especially well for a first attempt over timber. Making the most of his guaranteed stamina, he stuck to his task well under Tom Scudamore to score a shade cosily by a neck from the favourite. He can only improve for the experience and will be out again very shortly – he rates an exciting prospect. Incidentally, there is still a 50% share in him for sale if there are any interested parties - a proven winner who is fit and ready to run…what is not to like?! Do get in touch with my office for further details.

Umbrigado (pictured right) was our second winner of the week when scoring very nicely in the NH novices’ hurdle at Exeter on Friday under a penalty. This was his most stringent test to date against some highly rated rivals and he passed with flying colours. Travelling especially well until taking it up between the last two flights, he needed only to be shaken up to put it beyond doubt despite showing signs of inexperience. Remember, he has only had four career starts (including one in an Irish point-to-point) and he is learning all the time. I hold him in very high regard but we will keep him low-key this term. He will not be heading to Cheltenham this term (although he certainly would not be out of place in any line-up), but will have one more start before the season is out. Hopefully, he will come back even better with another summer on his back and we will start thinking of the Cheltenham Festival after that.

Eamon An Cnoic (pictured top of page) hopefully booked his place for the Cheltenham Festival with a ready victory in the two mile handicap chase at Chepstow on Saturday. Given a confident ride by David Noonan, he swept through to take it up with a good jump at the last and strode away to win in good style. He is due a rise in the weights for this and hopefully that will be enough to get him into one of the handicaps at the Festival. He holds entries in the Grand Annual, Brown Advisory, Kim Muir and Ultima Chases at Cheltenham and preference is for the shorter races as a stiff 2 to 2½ miles suits him well, although such is the competitive nature of the Festival that we will be governed by where he can get a run.

New Age Dawning (Lingfield) and Poker Play (Exeter) also performed well to finish second and they look capable of going one better soon.

The Week Ahead

Looking to this week and we have had one runner at Plumpton this afternoon (Monday) where Mrs Miggins finished a creditable fourth in the mares’ handicap. She galloped all the way to the line and looked as though a step-up in trip to three miles would suit.

Tomorrow we will have four runners at Ffos Las as Midnight Magic runs in the three mile novices’ handicap chase with David Noonan in the saddle. We run Max do Brazil (Tom Scudamore) and Delface (David Noonan) in the two mile handicap hurdle – Max has always promised more than he has delivered and is certainly capable of better than he has shown so far, whilst Delface has been in great form of late and should go well once again. Our final runner at the Welsh track is Yaa Salaam who makes his Pond House/hurdling debut in the novices’ hurdle. A quality animal on the flat (he was beaten only 2½ lengths in an Italian Group 3 contest on his last start); I have been looking forward to getting him to the track. He has schooled well at home and looks like an exciting recruit for our new syndicate Two Hopes.

We have plenty of entries for the remainder of the week, although plans for those fixtures are somewhat more fluid. They include engagements for exciting prospects Airton, First Lord de Cuet, Duc de Beauchene and Extra Mag to name but a few. The weather will govern if many of these will run – whilst the glorious sunshine has been very pleasant for us, it is not so good for the horses that enjoy a bit of give in the ground.

As usual, you can keep up to date with all the latest news on runners by reading Chester’s Daily Chat or by following us on Twitter @DavidPipeRacing.

Stable Tours

We flung open the doors at Pond House to allow exclusive behind the scenes access to our VIP tour party on Wednesday. Hosted by tour operator Martin Higgs our guests enjoyed a great breakfast at the local stores before heading to Pond House for a visit to the gallops, tour of the stable and facilities before heading off to Exeter races in the afternoon.

We still have a couple of places available for our pre-Cheltenham tour on 5th March and they represent a unique experience for any racing fan. For further details visit our tours page.

Supple’s Success At Great Trethew

Finally, I couldn’t finish this week without congratulating my assistant Gerry Supple on his first success as a trainer following the victory of Skinflint in the maiden point-to-point at Great Trethew on Sunday. This was a real family affair as he was ridden by his wife, accomplished amateur rider Jo. I understand there were a few sleepless nights in the run-up to the race but I am sure they were worthwhile and the celebrations will be ongoing for a day or two yet! Very well done…

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