Murphy's the target as Pipe cruises towards title

The biggest surprise of the jumps season so far was the news that Martin Pipe, the workaholics' workaholic, is currently enjoying a Caribbean cruise, and called in at the Breeders' Cup in Florida at the weekend merely for fun. It must have been the first time for years that Pipe had been to a race meeting at which he did not have a runner.

The biggest surprise of the jumps season so far was the news that Martin Pipe, the workaholics' workaholic, is currently enjoying a Caribbean cruise, and called in at the Breeders' Cup in Florida at the weekend merely for fun. It must have been the first time for years that Pipe had been to a race meeting at which he did not have a runner.

That said, of course, it would be no surprise to find Pipe emerging from the cruise liner at landfall accompanied by a horse he had claimed from a race on the Gulfstream undercard. His brain will be working even if his body is not, and while he was taking it easy in Florida on Saturday, six more winners were being added to his total for the season. That now stands at 75, which is already more than just a handful of his rivals will manage all year.

Pipe is also well on the way to his first half-a-million in prize money, and will hope to make further progress this weekend when he - or rather, his son, David - will saddle Majadou and Tresor De Mai in the Murphy's Gold Cup at Cheltenham, a contest he has won three times in the last four years. The bookmakers all made Majadou favourite for the race after yesterday's five-day declaration stage, at prices ranging from 5-2 all the way up to 4-1.

Majadou, who was an easy winner of the Mildmay of Flete Chase at the Festival in March, is expected to be the chosen ride of Tony McCoy, but the rider of the likely spare ride will not go to post without hope.

"Majadou is well in himself and we are obviously hoping for a big run from him as he's been pleasing in his work at home," David Pipe said yesterday. "Tresor De Mai has come out of last week's race at Exeter [when fourth to Flagship Uberalles] in good shape and he's always seemed as if he would be better over further than two miles, and he'll get that on Saturday. In my opinion there would not be too much between the horses, as although Majadou won at the Festival, the longer trip could bring out improvement in Tresor De Mai."

The bookies were less certain of the main danger to Pipe's team, though, with Tremallt, trained by Tom George, the choice of Ladbrokes at 6-1. This despite the presence in the race of the champion two-mile chaser, Call Equiname, who tops the weights and ensures that only seven of the field will not be running from out of the handicap.

Call Equiname is an 8-1 chance with Coral, an extraordinary price about a horse who always goes well fresh, and won the Victor Chandler Chase first time up last season.

"He always goes well first time out, he's in good order and he'd have a good chance," Paul Nicholls said yesterday. "He's had his problems in the past, but touch wood he's over those at the moment, and he's never been beaten over fences at Cheltenham. We've had plenty of winners in the last week and the idea was always to have the horses ready now."

Nicholls almost managed the unthinkable last season, when he took the tussle with Pipe for the trainers' title right down to the last week of the season. He is again the only obvious challenger to Pipe's dominance, and the Murphy's will be the first of many big-race head-to-heads over the coming months.

"It would have been nice to win the title, but I'm not even thinking about it now," Nicholls said. "You just can't compete with the numbers, and that's what beat us in the end. On win money, we would have won, but it was the sheer numbers and place money that beat us."

A former resident of Nicholls's yard, Lake Kariba, is also among the Murphy's entries, though he is now owned by The Winning Line and trained by Venetia Williams, who also has The Outback Way in the race. Mister Morose, trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies, and Philip Hobbs's Stormy Passage will also have their supporters, but given the structure of the race, with so many horses out of the handicap and such class among those who race off their true weight, it is hard to see beyond half a dozen of the contenders even at this early stage.

Tremallt, meanwhile, is also among the 10 entries for the Edward Hanmer Chase at Haydock the same afternoon. Young Kenny, last year's Scottish Grand National winner, is the most interesting of the other names on the list, and was confirmed a definite runner yesterday by Peter Beaumont, his trainer. He will be without his regular rider, though, following Brendan Powell's injury last week, and Robbie Supple has been booked to take his place.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
News
i100
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin