Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle
- Run over 2 miles 4 furlongs
- Only conditional jockeys can ride (young jockeys at the start of their careers)
- Hurdle race
This race is often targeted by a trainer who knows he or she has a well handicapped horse but also knows that he or she has a good conditional jockey who can be a great asset on the day. Gordon Elliott must think he has both because Squouateur has been backed for the race from the moment that market opened and he is now as short as 100/30 in some places. This is a competitive old race and I just can’t be backing anything at that price. I should say though that the horse does appeal and Jack Kennedy is a cracking young jockey so if you managed to get a decent each way price on this one you can be quite happy with yourself.
I’m torn between two here and I think there is value in backing both of them. QUALANDO has been targeted at this race all season after winning the Fred Winter here last season in great style. Nicholls reckons he is a spring horse and he looks extremely well handicapped for this given his performance last year. There is nothing better than course form in my opinion, particularly at Cheltenham and with Nicholls’ hurdlers in good form and a capable jockey in the shape of Harry Cobden I can see him running a big race.
The second selection is FLYING ANGEL for Nigel Twiston-Davies and the useful young jockey Ryan Hatch. The horse bolted up in the Imperial Cup at Sandown last week and although the gap between that race and this is probably not ideal he wouldn’t be the first horse to win at Cheltenham after that meeting and it is difficult to ignore the fact that he is clearly very well handicapped. Twiston-Davies’ horses are in fine form and I was surprised that he wasn’t shorter than 14/1. Another nice each way price as far as I’m concerned.