5.30 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
Friday 13 March | Age: 4yo+ | Prize: £70,000
The Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle, for conditional jockeys, is run in the name of the 15-time champion trainer who saddled no fewer than 34 Cheltenham Festival winners. His son David Pipe is yet to win the race, however.
LAST race of the festival means the last race preview and tip for me. It’s been emotional.
At the time of writing (Thursday night) things are going pretty well with Min and the beautiful Concertista hosing up so hopefully we can finish off in style.
The Martin Pipe Hurdle is referred to sometimes as ‘the boys race’ in a somewhat politically incorrect style. It is a race for conditional jockeys, both male and female and the young rider on board is an important part of the puzzle. A good young jockey can be invaluable and a bad one can ruin your chances completely.
I have two selections for the race. The first is MY SISTER SARAH who fell last time out which isn’t ideal but that masks the fact that she was close to both Black Tears and Elfile earlier this season in other races and could be very well handicapped. Adam Short is a capable conditional jockey and she shouldn’t be the huge price that she is. She is 33-1 with Paddy Power paying 6 places which could prove to be the best value of the whole week, maybe apart from Concertista!
Second choice is THE BOSSES OSCAR who is completely unexposed so could be very good. Gordon Elliott’s horses are flying just now and Sean O’Keefe is a very good young rider who is also trusted with a very good ride in the previous race. I expect him to go close.
FRONT VIEW (5.30) can round off a memorable festival for the McManus camp by landing the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
He didn’t enjoy a clear passage when running a fine second to Mullins’ Five O’Clock in a Grade 3 Novices’ Hurdle at Down Royal and Front View now has his first run in a handicap off a potential lenient 139 rating.
The McManus colours are also carried by dual Galway winner Ilikedwayurthinkin and the Gavin Cromwell-trained gelding was another eye-catcher at Leopardstown over Christmas.
Elliott’s Column Of Fire was sent off favourite for the big 3m handicap hurdle at Leopardstown last month, finishing third, and this previous easy Punchestown winner (heavy) will come here fully primed.
Stablemate The Bosses Oscar is another worth considering in what appears to be a benefit finale for the Irish.
A very tough race to end the festival on, and it's interesting that Joseph O'Brien has got the jockey booking of Jonjo Jr on Front View, as this jockey/trainer combination won this same race last year.
I do think that Front View will need to step up on what we've seen of him, as he doesn't have the same profile as Joseph O'Brien's winner of this last year.
COLUMN OF FIRE is the selection for me for once again, Gordon Elliott. I do believe this horse is above a handicapper and will more than likely be competing in lower Graded races at the bare minimum next season.
He was a classy bumper horse, where he achieved an RPR of 129. His hurdle runs have been consistent, and he's finished behind some nice horses such as Longhouse Poet, who has finished behind Envoi Allen and Latest Exhibition.
His recent run in the William Fry Handicap was a great prep for this race, he stayed on well over 3m and that's a positive as he will have the stamina to get up the hill when the rest are tiring.
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T: G P Cromwell
T: G Elliott
T: P J Hobbs
T: G Elliott
T: D Skelton
T: G Elliott
T: D Pipe
T: K C Bailey
T: C Byrnes
T: W P Mullins
T: W P Mullins
T: P R Webber
T: N J Henderson
T: J P O'Brien
T: K C Bailey
T: P F Nicholls
T: Jamie Snowden
T: Miss R Curtis
T: G Elliott
T: N P Mulholland
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