David Pipe to Have Two Runners in Saturday’s £150,000 Paddy Power Gold Cup 10/11/08
David Pipe revealed today at a stable visit organised by Cheltenham Racecourse & sponsor Paddy Power that he is to have two runners in the £150,000 BetVictor Gold Cup on Saturday, the middle day of The Open at Cheltenham - the meeting that kick starts the jump season.
Piraya, a newcomer to the stable, and old favourite Vodka Bleu are due to line up in the prestigious handicap chase over two miles, four and a half furlongs.
Pipe said: “It is a big weekend for jumping racing at Cheltenham and for every trainer and jockey. We have a nice team going there, probably 10-plus horses, over the three days and they go there in good form.
“Hopefully, we might be able to get a winner or two. We have two in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, Piraya and Vodka Bleu who is probably high enough in the weights but has done very well for us. Piraya is an unknown quantity - he is only five and had good form in France. He is probably the dark horse in the race and he will love all this rain.
“We bought Piraya during the summer for Terry Neill and he has had a nice break. He has some nice form at Auteuil, winning three times at around two and a half miles, so we thought the Paddy Power Gold Cup would be the perfect starting point for him. He has been pleasing us with his work at home and Tom Scudamore has come down and schooled him. With a bit of luck in running, he would have a chance.
“Vodka Bleu is our only other runner - the other two we have left in won’t get in the race. He has been a real star for Pond House - he won two races last season but he is just getting a bit older and wiser and we have put a pair of blinkers on him and it seems to do the trick. He retains all his enthusiasm at home but he is high in the handicap so there are probably better handicapped horses. Having said that, two and a half mile miles around Cheltenham suits him. He could not go there in better form but he would like a few pounds less on his back. At the age of nine, he has to put up a career best performance.
“Comply Or Die might go to Cheltenham on Saturday (for the £60,000 Servo Computer Services Trophy Handicap Chase over three miles, three and a half furlongs). He has a lot more weight following his Grand National win but he is in great form and he won’t mind the soft ground. The distance will also suit him and how he gets on Saturday will determine what he does for the rest of the season. He is nine and lightly raced and there may be more improvement in him.
“He is bred to jump and stay and he does that very well as he showed in April. It will be lovely to see him back on the track.”
DAVID PIPE’S ENTRIES AT THE OPEN ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15 & 16
Saturday, November 15
2.00pm Servo Computer Services Trophy Handicap Chase, 3m 3f 110yds
2.35pm BetVictor Gold Cup, 2m 4f 110yds
3.10pm Cleanevent Handicap Hurdle 3m 1f 110yds
Sunday, November 16
1.45pm paddypower.Com Handicap Steeple Chase 2m
2.20pm Greatwood Handicap Hurdle Race 2m 110yds
2.55pm Cotswold Style Intermediate Handicap Hurdle 2m 5f
Born on February 7, 1973, David Pipe is the son of 15-time champion jump trainer Martin Pipe. He took over the trainer’s licence at Pond House Stables in Somerset from his father at the conclusion of the 2005/2006 jump season.
The 35-year-old enjoyed the greatest day of his career to date when saddling Comply Or Die to win the John Smith’s Grand National on April 5, 2008, less than two years after enjoying his first runner under Rules as a fully licensed trainer.
That initial success came on May 9, 2006, when Standin Obligation landed a novice chase at Kelso.
David certainly hit the ground running after taking over the reins from his record-breaking father. In his first year as master of Pond House Stable, he sent out 134 winners, more than any other trainer in Britain. He also finished third in the trainers’ championship, with the horses accumulating more than £1.6 million in prize money.
Highlights of that first season included Our Vic’s triumph in the Grade Two Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby in October, David’s first big race victory as a trainer.
Standin Obligation provided another first as he gave David his initial winner at Cheltenham on November 10, 2006, when the gelding took the Steel Plate And Sections Novices’ Chase at The Open.
Defying a 658-day absence, Well Chief’s victory in the Grade Two Game Spirit Chase at Newbury on February 10, 2007 was another of David’s finest moments.
Gaspara provided him with a first winner at the Cheltenham Festival that same year when she was victorious in the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle from 23 rivals on March 13.
Those achievements were surpassed in the 2007/2008 season with Comply Or Die’s Grand National triumph augmented by the fantastic triumphs of stable stalwart Our Vic in the Grade One Ryanair Chase at The Festival and Aintree’s totesport Bowl, in which he defeated the mighty Kauto Star.
Further big-race victories last season came courtesy of Tamarinbleu who gained both the Boylesports.com Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December and Ascot’s Victor Chandler Chase the following month.
Subsequent Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle runner-up Osana was also on the mark at Cheltenham in December, winning the £200,000 Grade Two Boylesports.com International Hurdle.
David completed a brace of wins at The Festival in 2008 with An Accordion prevailing in the William Hill Trophy, while Ashkazar captured the Sunderlands Imperial Cup at Sandown and old favourite Lough Derg carried off the Grade One BGC Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot.
The trainer ended his second season with 100 winners and almost £2.5 million in prize money to his name, placing him second behind Paul Nicholls in the trainers’ championship. He has made a good start to this season with 40 winners (up to November 8).
His racing career started in 1992 with riding in point-to-points and he went on to record 22 wins over the next five seasons, plus two under Rules, which included victory aboard Bonanza Boy in the Ludlow Gold Cup.
After hanging up his race-riding boots, he had spells with Michael Dickinson in the US, Criquette Head-Maarek in France and Joey Ramsden in South Africa.
The next stage was to be a point-to-point trainer, handling the likes of Horus, Lord Atterbury and Celestial Gold, who went on to have successful careers under Rules when transferred to his father’s yard. Based at Purchas Farm, a mile away from Pond House, he sent out 164 point-to-point winners over six seasons, with Well Armed successful 15 times.
Having acted as assistant trainer to his father for several seasons, David became the trainer at Pond House Stables in his own right upon the official retirement of his father, who now acts as assistant trainer, and has the support of leading owner David Johnson as he bids to bring the trainers’ title back to the yard. Fellow West Country-trainer Paul Nicholls has been champion for the past three seasons.
Martin Pipe came to dominate jump racing after starting his training career in 1977 and re-wrote the record books with his incredible tally of winners. He sent out 230 winners during the 1990/91 season, only to break that total when landing 243 successes in the 1999-2000 campaign.
Along with his 15 trainers’ championships, Martin Pipe saddled 34 winners at the Cheltenham Festival, capturing the Champion Hurdle with both Granville Again (1993) and Make A Stand (1997).
He won the Grand National with Miinnehoma in 1994, took the Welsh National on five occasions and landed the Paddy Power Gold Cup an amazing eight times, with Beau Ranger (1987), Challenger Du Luc (1996), Cyfor Malta (1998 & 2002), Lady Cricket (2000), Shooting Light (2001), Celestial Gold (2004) and Our Vic (2005).
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