David Pipe may not be as prolific a trainer as his father, but Cheltenham’s Open Meeting is one of his favourite 3-days of the whole season, which is hardly surprising when you consider he won the main race (now the Betvictor Gold Cup) with Great Endeavour back in 2011, and was the meeting’s leading trainer for the next two-years.
Therefore, as it’s the Open Meeting this weekend, we thought there would be no better time to take a look at some of David’s more talented stable stars, some of whom may well appear at this weekend’s meeting.
The 8-year-old should be reaching his peak as a staying chaser this season, and he could easily win a big-pot off a chase-rating of 142. Last season he only found Bishop’s Road too good in Haydock’s Grand National Trial in February, but had to miss the rest of the season with a slight injury. Unlikely to be seen until after Christmas, when a return to Haydock may well be on the agenda, as could the Grand National or Scottish National. May be worth an ante-post interest in those races.
Rated over 100 on the flat, the former Mark Prescott trained horse could be a useful if recruit if he can jump, and there’s plenty of ex-Mark Prescott horses who have made the transition successfully. Likely to be best at two-miles and on decent ground.
CHAMPERS ON ICE
Achieved a rating of 146 as a novice hurdler last season after wins at Cheltenham and Newbury, and ended the season with third-place in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Reportedly bigger and stronger this season, and big things are expected in his novice chase campaign.
Backed off the boards when sent off favourite for the Kim Muir at Cheltenham in March, but unseated when already beaten. Looks sure to be able to exploit his handicap mark at some point this season, and shrewd trainer unlikely to waste it on a small pot.
MR BIG SHOT
Won his only bumper in a canter in March, and this strapping individual should live-up to his boastful name. Should win over hurdles, but likely to make a fine chaser next season.
The 2015 Champion Bumper winner started his hurdling career by beating the 2016 Cheltenham bumper winner, and should be out at Cheltenham at the weekend. Pipe expects him to be a top-class 2-miler, and it will be a big disappointment if he doesn’t several times before lining-up in the Supreme Novices Hurdle in March.
Won three bumpers and three hurdle races before being injured when unplaced in the 2014 Neptune Hurdle behind Faugheen. Could be very well handicapped off a mark of 145, and no surprise if he is brought back slowly with one of the big festival handicaps his big target.
A 150 rated hurdler who may struggle in handicaps off that mark but unlikely to be good enough to contest graded races successfully. Interesting if switched to chasing.
UN TEMPS POUR TOUT
Mixed hurdles and fences with great success last season and, after winning a decent hurdle race at Aintree on his reappearance, he reputedly runs next in the Hennessey Gold Cup off a mark of 158. Could still be improving, though not sure if that extended 3-mile 2-furlongs will be too much of a stamina test for him.