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?
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
News
media
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Manager, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum, Benefits: Excellent Uncapped Commission Structure: ...

Sales Executive, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting entertainment comp...

Retail Business Analyst

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Ecommerce/Retail/E...

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz