Entries & Recent Form
- Monday, 20 March 2017 16:23
- Written by David Pipe
It is hard to believe that the Cheltenham Festival has been and gone for another year. There were plenty of thrills and spills and some amazing performances on the track, not least by our own Un Temps Pour Tout (pictured above) who became a back-to-back Festival winner by defying top weight in a thrilling finish to the Grade 3 Ultima handicap chase.
As I have previously stated, rightly or wrongly it seems that today a trainer is judged as much by his performance at the Cheltenham Festival as the remainder of the season combined. Fortunately it has been a very rare occurrence for me to return empty-handed, indeed it has happened only twice in eleven visits to the Festival and I am sure you can imagine my relief when our first runner of the week hit the bullseye.
Un Temps Pour Tout produced one of the best weight-carrying performances of recent years when bravely landing the third race on the opening day, defying a handicap mark of 155. In beating the well-backed Singlefarmpayment and Ireland’s leading hope Noble Endeavor, he was recording a personal best effort, bettering even last year’s performance or that of his French Champion Hurdle victory. He clearly enjoys this time of year and appreciates the sounder surface and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that he could line-up in the Gold Cup field next year, although in my opinion he appeals more as a Grand National type for the future. The way the race is framed these days means that the classier horses are given a real chance – in the meantime we have Vieux Lion Rouge to look forward to this year.
Of our other Festival runners Starchitect performed with credit in the Brown Advisory handicap chase, finishing fifth despite meeting with a troubled passage, while Magie du Ma ran with great credit and was not beaten at all far on her British debut in the Triumph Hurdle and should have little trouble winning races on this side of the Channel. Moon Racer was disappointing in the Champion Hurdle, losing his position with a bad mistake at the fourth last. Tom Scudamore quite rightly looked after him from that point onward and I am pleased to report that he is in good order – he could well go to Aintree next month.
Once again we were well looked after in our annual hospitality marquee and I would like to pass on my thanks to Joy and the team behind the bar who help to make for a great atmosphere and also to Liz and James for their continued help with the organisation and meet and greets.
There were some fantastic performances to look back on, not least Buveur d’Air’s Champion Hurdle success which was owner J P McManus’s 50th Cheltenham Festival winner as an owner – an amazing achievement for which I would like to offer my sincerest congratulations.
Looking ahead, we have one runner this afternoon as Lady Of Longstone goes at Taunton under regular rider Michael Heard, while The Two Amigos, Martabot, Carqalin and Whitley Neill run at Exeter tomorrow.
Recent ex-Irish point-to-point winner Warthog is an intended runner in the bumper at Chepstow on Thursday, while Taws is likely to contest the mares’ novices’ hurdle at Ludlow on the same afternoon. Exciting prospect Mr Big Shot has plenty of entries this weekend and could run somewhere. As usual for all the latest news on our runners do take a look at Chester’s Daily Chat or follow us on Twitter @DavidPipeRacing.
The Festival may be over for another year but there is still plenty to look forward to…did I mention that Aintree is only 17 days away?!...