The son of 15-time champion National Hunt trainer Martin Pipe CBE, David Pipe was born to be a racehorse trainer. Having such a successful father to follow also meant having a rather large shadow looming over him.
He started out as a very talented point-to-point trainer and had 164 winners during a hugely successful six-year stint. He worked alongside his father and took over the running of the stables when Pipe Snr retired from the sport in April 2006.
He had a good grounding off which to start his career having gained notable experience from leading handlers Michael Dickinson, Joey Ramsden and Cricquette Head-Maarek as well as everything he had learned from his father.
That experience and his undoubted talent enabled him to get his training career off to a flying start. Just a month after taking over the business, he saddled his first winner when ‘Standin Obligation’ won at Kelso. He ended that day, the 9th May 2006, with a treble after ‘Wee Dinns’ and ‘Papillon De Lena’ were also victorious.
Those winners would kick-start a debut season that saw Pipe Jnr become the first trainer to have over 100 winners in his first season, as well as amassing in excess of £1.6million in prize money to finish third in the race for the champion trainer title. He also had his first winner at the prestigious Cheltenham Festival with ‘Gaspara’ winning the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle in early 2007.
Even more success followed the next season, 2007/08, with ‘An Accordion’ winning the William Hill Trophy and ‘Our Vic’ the Ryanair Chase to give Pipe a double at the Cheltenham Festival. A month later, ‘Our Vic’ went on to win the Totesport Bowl Chase at the Aintree Festival before Timmy Murphy rode ‘Comply or Die’ to victory in the Grand National.
Pipe finished the season with 100 winners, 34 less than in his debut season, but won just under £2.5million in prize money to finish runner-up for the champion trainer title. Winning the Grand National in just his second season was the highlight of a fledgling career for Pipe, especially as his father had to wait twenty years for his first success in the race.
The following season was a little less successful, with only 76 winners and just under £1.3million in prize money. However, ‘Madison Du Berlais’ provided plenty to cheer about by winning the Newbury Gold Cup as a 25/1 shot and then following that up with several big race victories including the Totesport Bowl at Aintree.
To date, the most winners in a season that Pipe has amassed was in his debut season in 2006/07 and the most prize money came the following season in 2007/08. That doesn’t mean he has been any less successful, with a string of superb horses ensuring Pipe has been in the winner’s enclosure plenty of times. He has had over 100 winners six times in his ten years as a professional trainer and is just short of reaching 1,000 career jump winners overall. He has also amassed in excess of £13.5million in prize money during the course of his ten years as a professional trainer.
One of his best horses has been ‘Grands Crus’ who burst onto the scene in 2010/11 with success in several big races. He toyed with his opposition and was seen by everyone as a major threat to the great ‘Big Bucks’. Unfortunately, the horse only managed to finish runner-up in both the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and the Liverpool Hurdle at the Aintree Grand National meeting. The horse that was considered one of the best staying hurdlers of his generation won seven of his twenty starts up until November 2013, before being retired by Pipe in 2014 to move into a career in equestrian.
Pipe has continued to find success in major races with an enviable string of great horses, as well as being supported by owners who appreciate the personality of the trainer alongside his amazing talent. He is an honest, approachable and skilful trainer who has learned from the best and is now considered one of the best in the game.
His most recent major success has been with ‘Un Temps Pour Tout’ winning both the 2015 French Champion Hurdle at Auteuil in Paris and the Ultima Handicap at the Cheltenham Festival this year.
David Pipe has taken giant strides in stepping out of the shadow of his great father and has many more years ahead to fulfil his ambitions. His training methods have helped to build a successful team at Pond House Stables in Somerset and he looks sure to have plenty more major success in the near future.