Cheltenham Festival 2012 

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By Dylan Jenear ValueChecker

Bank on Bourne in Festival Martin Pipe

The Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle is a race in which it pays to focus on progressive types, particularly novices who are on upward curve.

© Racehorse Photos


There are plenty of entries at this stage that fit that profile, but the one that appeals most at the ante-post prices is 11-1 shot Bourne, for whom the Wiki stats augur well with regard to a tilt at this Cheltenham Festival contest.

As the Wikis indicate, Bourne is well suited to a stiff track and a big-field handicap. He improved markedly on his latest start at Ascot, seeing off some decent performers, and the strong pace helped the gelding get into a good rhythm. The way he saw the race out left the impression that the 2m 4½f trip at Prestbury Park will be ideal, particularly as he will almost certainly again benefit from a searching end-to-end gallop.

At the time of writing, the David Pipe-trained duo Balgarry and Poole Master rate the main dangers. The Nicholashayne handler will always be keen to win this race, which is named in honour of his father, and both Balgarry and Poole Master are, like the selection, progressive hurdlers. However, Bourne has the advantage of experience of the hurly burly of a big-field handicap by virtue of his Ascot victory, and he could prove too strong up the Prestbury Park hill for the Pipe pair.

In terms of raw ability, Paul Nicholls’ Ted Spread merits the utmost respect. However, the handicapper has thumped the ex-Flat performer for his runaway Taunton victory and, moreover, if he doesn’t settle at Cheltenham on March 16 he will struggle to get home in what will be a truly-run race over a trip that, whether he races keenly or not, may well stretch his stamina reserves.

Recommendation: Bourne @ 11-1 (Boylesports)


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