Sir Des Champs Comes from the Clouds to Win Martin Pipe
1 Sir Des Champs 9/2 Fav
A record-breaking Festival for Irish raiders continued when Sir Des Champs justified 9/2 favouritism when giving Emmet Mullins, a member of a family synonymous with Cheltenham success, a first victory at the meeting in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
As well as being a fourth win at this year’s Festival for trainer Willie Mullins (uncle of the winning rider), it was a 13th Irish-trained success this week. Sir Des Champs was giving owner Michael O’Leary a third win this Festival.
“They went such a mad gallop and I was never travelling early on,” said Emmet Mullins. “The horse is inexperienced, it was only the his third run over hurdles and it was a matter of keeping him balanced.
“I just came with one run and thankfully he was good enough. I had a hell of a lot of ground to make up but he took off 100 yards from the last and really winged it. I kept on with him all the way to the line and he’s going to be a serious horse next year.”
O’Leary added: “The horse had only run twice before and was very inexperienced and it was the first time he had run in anything bar soft or heavy so we didn’t think he would handle this better ground today.
“He sprouted wings to come from where he did and it was a brilliant ride from Emmet, who is an inexperienced conditional. He’s not called Mullins for nothing.
“It’s been a great week for Ireland and Willie Mullins but I think you’re going to get it all back at Lansdowne Road tomorrow. But I’d settle for a couple of winners at Cheltenham and you can have the rugby!”
MULLINS TAKES THE LEAD IN THE TRAINERS’ BATTLE WITH HIS FOURTH WINNER OF THE WEEK
Willie Mullins went into pole position on the Thomas Pink leading trainers table when recording his fourth win of the 2011 Cheltenham Festival, with Sir Des Champs adding to the earlier success of Final Approach in the Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle and to his first-day double with Hurricane Fly in the Stan James Champion Hurdle and Quevega in the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle.
It was also the 13th Irish success of The Festival a new record (10 previous best)
“Emmet [Mullins] gave him a peach of a ride. He found himself a bit far out but didn’t panic, just kept him jumping,” said Mullins, the uncle of the winning jockey.
“We had discussed before the race that if we did get too far back to come up the inside rail and take a chance in the hope we’d get a clear run and that’s exactly what happened. I’m delighted for him.
“Any time we come over here we’re hoping for one winner. To get the third today and then a double with my nephew riding that really capped the week. I’m really delighted for Emmet.”
Referring to his Stan James Champion hurdler Hurricane Fly, he added: “I was just so delighted to get him here and after that to let him do the talking.”
Donald McCain had to bear the pain of seeing Hurricane Fly get the better of his previously unbeaten Stan James Champion Hurdle runner Peddlers Cross, who finished second, and the trainer had to settle for second again after Sir Des Champs reeled in long-time leader Son Of Flicka.
“I just told Willie that once was okay but to do it to me twice was not on,” said a grinning McCain.
“He’s a wonderful little horse, he’s only tiny but he’s as tough as nails and he had a big weight to carry. He’s [Henry Brooke] a good kid who had given him a great ride. That’s Cheltenham, I suppose.”
THE MARTIN PIPE CONDITIONAL JOCKEYS’ HANDICAP HURDLE FACTS & FIGURES
Run for the first time in 2009, the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle is named after one the greatest trainers of modern times, who retired at the end of the 2005/06 season. In a career spanning 32 years, Martin Pipe was champion trainer on no fewer than 15 occasions. His 4,182 winners included 34 at The Festival.
Martin’s son David ran seven horses in the first running in 2009 with Big Eared Fran faring best of the septet in third.
Andytown won the the 2009 contest for jockey Felix de Giles and trainer Nicky Henderson, who equalled Martin’s total of 34 Cheltenham Festival winners in the process.
MARTIN PIPE CONDITIONAL JOCKEYS’ HANDICAP HURDLE
2010-WINNER-PAUSE AND CLAUSE 6-11-10 Owner-Robert Cohen; Trainer-Emma Lavelle; Jockey-Johnny Farrelly; SP-14/1
2009-WINNER-ANDYTOWN 6-11-02 Owner-Richard & Lizzie Kelvin Hughes; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Felix de Giles; SP-25/1
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