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Cheltenham Festival

Martin Pipe Launches Record Season At Cheltenham



McCoy stars on Pipe's big day

Cheltenham opened its season celebrating the career of 15 times champion trainer Martin Pipe - with all six races dedicated to him.

But it was his long-time jockey and good friend Tony McCoy who upstaged him with a near 52-1 treble.

Five champions trained by the Pond House maestro, who retired in April, were on parade beforehand. But the cheers for Blowing Wind, Bonanza Boy, Cyfor Malta, Make A Stand and Miinnehoma were nothing compared to those accorded to McCoy, for so long an instrumental cog in the Pipe success story.

McCoy set the ball rolling when Backstage, Evan Williams' first runner for owner Sir Robert Ogden, stormed to a 16-length victory in the 15 Times Champion Trainer Novices' Chase.

McCoy got down to 10st 5lb to ride the four-year-old in the two-mile event and Williams smiled: "He wasn't going to do that weight just to have a day out.

"Fortunately missing his tea and breakfast was well worth it. This horse is a very good jumper and the plan was to get them in trouble early on. You've got to be able to jump at Cheltenham."

William Hill introduced Backstage at 40-1 for the Arkle but Ogden's racing manager, Barry Simpson, warned: "He's a nice horse, but he's not up to championship standard. The Arkle is not in our thoughts."

McCoy added his second victory on the card when Freeze The Flame blitzed his eight rivals in the 20 Trainers Started with MCP Scarvagh House Stud Juvenile Novices' Hurdle.

Charles Egerton's charge, sent off the 4-6 favourite to complete a three-timer in the extended two-mile contest, romped to a 30-length success from Lord Adonis (100-1).

John Smee, representing winning owners Matthew Green & The Outlaws, said: "This is the best moment I have ever had. We can dream about the Triumph Hurdle, but I'm not so sure the trainer will agree."

Martin Pipe Day To Kick-start New Jump Season At Cheltenham

Cheltenham Racecourse starts the 2006/07 season by staging an afternoon of racing dedicated to Martin Pipe on Tuesday, October 24.

Martin Pipe enjoying his retirement
martin  pipe

The inaugural running of Martin Pipe Day' is being held to celebrate the achievements of the record-breaking trainer, who retired in April after a glittering 32-year training career.

He landed 15 jump trainers' championships and saddled 34 winners at The Festival, making him the second most successful trainer ever at Cheltenham's flagship meeting.

Martin Pipe is going to be the guest of honour at a special lunch at the course before racing, featuring many jockeys, associates and friends from his time in the sport.

He will receive a special award in recognition of his tremendous training feats and the many winners he sent out at Cheltenham.

The former trainer will also speak throughout the afternoon about his memorable triumphs at Prestbury Park over the years.

Racegoers will have the opportunity to see some of Martin Pipe's Cheltenham Festival winners in the parade ring before the first race, including Miinnehoma and Blowing Wind, successful in the 1992 Royal & SunAlliance Chase and the 2002 Mildmay of Flete Chase, now the Racing Post Plate, respectively. A commemorative racecard will be available.

The six-race card on Martin Pipe Day features the £17,500 The 4182 Winners in 32 Years Winning Post Handicap Chase (4.30pm), run over two miles, four and a half furlongs, and the £15,000 The 34 Festival Winners Commercial First Handicap Hurdle (3.20pm) over two miles and five furlongs, backed by David Johnson, Pipe's longstanding owner

The first race of the day is the Hit Parade Started It All Betfair Novices' Hurdle (2.10pm) and the other three contests are the 15 Times Champion Trainer Tiger Developments Novices' Chase (2.45pm), the 20 Trainers Started With MCP Scarvagh House Stud Juvenile Novices' Hurdle (3.55pm) and the Pond House Team Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (5.05pm).

Edward Gillespie, Managing Director of Cheltenham Racecourse, said : "We felt it appropriate that Cheltenham should celebrate the training career of one of the most influential trainers our sport has ever seen.

"Martin Pipe Day is being held at the start of the jump season, as it will be the first time that we have raced professionally since he retired.

"No doubt David Pipe will be trying to win all of the races held in his father's honour, and everyone else will be trying to stop him! It promises to be an exciting day of racing and a truly memorable occasion."

There is also racing at Cheltenham on Wednesday, October 25 and action on day two of the meeting includes the £20,000 Ian Williams Owners Novices' Chase over three miles and half a furlong, won last year in impressive style by Iris's Gift, the 2004 Ladbrokes World Hurdle hero, who destroyed the opposition to come home 17 lengths clear of Sweet Diversion.

The £20,000 Jewson Handicap Hurdle, run over two miles and half a furlong, is another highlight on the seven-race programme, concluding this popular summer hurdle series.

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