Entries & Recent Form


The Cheltenham Festival is over for another year and we were once again treated to an amazing spectacle full of top-class performances. We had a smaller team than in previous years with only three runners, but Eamon An Cnoic produced a cracking effort to finish a close fourth in the Brown Advisory Plate, whilst Warthog ran better than his finishing position would suggest in the four mile National Hunt Chase. I was pleased to round off the week with a winner at Uttoxeter’s Midlands National card which has been very kind to me down the years.

Festival Runners

Whilst it was a little disappointing to have fewer runners than in previous years (we had a few who narrowly missed the cut in some of the handicaps), there were still some good efforts. Eamon An Cnoic travelled powerfully for much of the way in the 2m4½f Brown Advisory Plate and looked to have every chance of success between the last two fences, before finding only the one pace close home. I had hoped to run him in the 2m Grand Annual, the penultimate race of the meeting but the early indication was that he would narrowly miss the cut. Given that horses are only allowed to be declared once during the course of the Cheltenham Festival, it was a relatively straight forward decision – take the run in the Plate rather than run the risk of missing out altogether if we did not get in the Grand Annual.

Champers On Ice did not have a going day in the Pertemps Final, although Warthog ran much better than his finishing position in the National Hunt Chase. He travelled and jumped nicely for much of the way but didn’t get the marathon trip and lost all chance when impeded by a faller in front of him. Richie Deegan wisely looked after him and pulled him up in what proved to be a real war of attrition.

I am sure we will be better represented at future renewals – we have a lovely team of youngsters coming through who will hopefully be Festival contenders in future years and for years to come. In the meantime, we have Aintree to look forward to in less than three weeks and we should have a few more there.

Great Hospitality

We welcomed in the region of 150 guests to our hospitality marquee on each of the four days and there was a great atmosphere throughout. The marquee provides a great base for the day as well as shelter from this year’s inclement weather! We ran daily tipping competitions that were kindly supported by Coral and SkyBet as well as ‘Star’ prizes of Cornish Rock Gin that were generously donated by George Malde.

Television pundits Matt Chapman and Josh Apiafi were good enough to take a turn on the microphone during our daily previews and incredibly Matt even managed to steer our guests in the direction of a winner or two!

Many thanks to Jockey Club Racecourses catering staff, headed by Joy Bellamy and her great team behind the bar for looking after us so well. Joy has been working at the Festival for 31 years and most of those have been in our marquee…it wouldn’t be the same without them. Thanks too to Liz and James for their continued hosting and organisation.

Poker’s Nap Hand

I was delighted to be back in the winners’ enclosure following Poker Play’s easy success in the valuable 2m4f handicap hurdle at Uttoxeter on Saturday. Always to the fore, he quickened right away in the closing stages under Tom Scudamore to win with the minimum of fuss. He clearly handled the heavy ground extremely well and I hope he can go on from this after his first success in this country. He has always shown plenty of ability at home but has promised more than he has delivered in the past so I was very happy that he has rewarded his owners’ patience.

The Week Ahead

We have three runners this afternoon (Monday) with Hot Ryan contesting the mares’ handicap hurdle at Exeter and Barranco Valley who makes his first start for the stable in the maiden hurdle after a long lay-off. First Lord de Cuet, who ran a very promising first run under rules when runner-up in a Taunton bumper, bids to go one place better at Plumpton.

It looks like being another busy day for the stable on Tuesday with Little Red Lion, Teaser, Mrs Miggins and Van Gough du Granit competing at our local track, Taunton, whilst promising novices’ hurdler Know The Score is our sole runner at Wetherby.

Midnight Magic is an intended runner in the 3m2f handicap chase at Chepstow on Wednesday. He produced a decent first effort over fences last time out at Ffos Las behind a subsequent winner so hopefully he can build on that effort.

Glen Vine, Buster Edwards and New Age Dawning are all engaged in the 2m7½f novices’ hurdle at Chepstow on Thursday, whilst Nordic Combined is an intended runner in the 2m handicap hurdle at Newbury on Friday. He produced a very good effort there when runner-up behind a promising type three runs back, so I hope he will be able to replicate that effort. Remastered and Three Star General are our other entries on the card.

We have a handful of entries at Bangor, Kelso and Newbury over the weekend, although Exeter on Sunday could be busier with the likes of Malangen, Eur Gone West, You Say What and Story Of Friends all engaged.

For the latest news from around the yard including running plans, don’t forget to keep up to date with Chester’s Daily Chat or follow us on Twitter @DavidPipeRacing.

A Fair Judge!

Finally, congratulations to my long suffering secretary Gail Harrison who won our in-house Ten To Follow competition for the Cheltenham Festival.  Gail topped the league (not for the first time!) by picking five winners and a second from her ten selections...it just goes to show that she may be older, but she is still wiser!  Well done Gail...

Anyway, Cheltenham is over for another year…roll on Aintree!

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