Punters are kept guessing by Pipe

Martin Pipe provided precisely no assistance yesterday to punters pondering the trickiest race of the weekend, tomorrow's William Hill Handicap Hurdle at Sandown. The champion trainer, who does so well in this type of race, on Monday entered a quintet of possible runners for the £50,000 contest and yesterday refused to clarify his running plans.

Martin Pipe provided precisely no assistance yesterday to punters pondering the trickiest race of the weekend, tomorrow's William Hill Handicap Hurdle at Sandown. The champion trainer, who does so well in this type of race, on Monday entered a quintet of possible runners for the £50,000 contest and yesterday refused to clarify his running plans.

His typical block entry - only Aidan O'Brien on the Flat loads more ammunition into his scatter gun - has resulted in leading bookmakers other than the sponsors declining to risk opening an ante-post book on the race.

The problem for punters is that weight of money indicates that two of Pipe's five entries have live chances. His Cheltenham winner Rodock, a novice who has the potential to emulate the trainer's Make A Stand by graduating through the handicap ranks to the Champion Hurdle, was put in as the 2-1 favourite but has still attracted money and is now down to 7-4. Meanwhile Pipe's Copeland was cut from 13-2 to 11-2 yesterday, having started the week at 10-1

Speaking at Wincanton yesterday, Pipe's less than helpful contribution was: "Tony McCoy goes to Sandown on Saturday and I suppose we'll have to find him a ride in the race.

"I understand Copeland has been heavily backed but by who I don't know as they are only guessing - I haven't made my mind up as to what runs.

"As always, there are the owners to consider [Hit And Run, Miss Fara and Star Of Dungannon are his other entries]. I will speak to them tonight and make up my mind in the morning."

One jockey booking that is certain, though is that of McCoy for Henrietta Knight's Edredon Bleu in the Tingle Creek Chase 35 minutes before the big hurdle. Jim Culloty, Knight's stable jockey, has partnered the seven-year-old in both his races this season, but the gelding's trainer has reaffirmed that Edredon Bleu will always be McCoy's ride if he is available.

Carl Llewellyn, who returned to race-riding only yesterday at Leicester after being stood down for three weeks with concussion following a fall at Ludlow, has landed the ride on Celibate in the Tingle Creek.

A ludicrous clash in timing between the Tingle Creek and Chepstow's feature, the Rehearsal Chase, has been averted after the intervention of the British Horseracing Board.

Both races were scheduled to start at 2.30pm, but yesterday the BBC agreed to a switch which will mean the Rehearsal is run at 2.35pm.

The BHB Chief Executive, Tristram Ricketts, said: "We are extremely grateful to the BBC for the flexibility that they have shown. The BBC have acted in good faith throughout and it is wrong to suggest, as one newspaper did this morning, that they were to blame for the potential clash.''

David Nicholson's training career, which has spanned over 30 years, came to an end yesterday when Castle Owen finished third to Storm Of Gold in a Market Rasen novices' chase.

Nicholson, who handed over the reins of his Jackdaws Castle training establishment to his assistant of 12 years, Alan King, from midnight last night, first took out a licence to train in 1968 after being a successful jockey when he rode over 600 winners, the best of which was Mill House in the 1967 Whitbread Gold Cup.

It was King who represented his mentor at the Lincolnshire track, with Nicholson having said his farewells at Plumpton on Wednesday.

King said: "It's a shame he couldn't finish on a winner but the horse jumped into the back of Storm Of Gold at the last ditch which didn't help."

King starts as a fully-fledged trainer at Sandown today when he saddles Zafarabad and Baronet. One of the stars in his care is the Hennessy Gold Cup runner-up, Spendid, and he added: "Spendid is fine - A1 - after the Hennessy. The King George VI Chase is a possibility for him."

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
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

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam