Racing: Walsh to solve the mystery of L'Aventure - More Sports - Sport - The Independent

Racing: Walsh to solve the mystery of L'Aventure

Saturdays are beginning to have a horribly familiar shape to them, horrible, that is, if you are not one of the training triumvirate of Martin Pipe, Paul Nicholls and Philip Hobbs.

Saturdays are beginning to have a horribly familiar shape to them, horrible, that is, if you are not one of the training triumvirate of Martin Pipe, Paul Nicholls and Philip Hobbs.

No-one else seems to get much of a look-in for the big weekend events and, by extension, the trainers' championship itself is a closed shop. It is short odds that both this afternoon's top baubles, the Classic Chase at Warwick and Kempton's Lanzarote Hurdle, will be collected by horses domiciled in Somerset.

Between them, the Big Three have six of the 16 runners in the Midlands feature race. Those from outside the favoured camps are led by Grattan Lodge, the winner of nine of his last 11 races for Howard Johnson, a horse beaten just once in his completed starts over fences. Merchants Friend, reported by Charlie Mann to be in the sort of form which saw him run second in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival, also possesses credentials.

Yet we must go back to the golden circle for the winner. L'Aventure (next best 3.10) is a "funny mare" according to Nicholls, but one with plenty of ability if it can be extracted. The six-year-old looked to be going nowhere in the Welsh National before finishing like a shot. She is an intriguing puzzle for Ruby Walsh to solve.

Elsewhere on the Warwick card, Nicholls gives a hurdles run-out to two horses trying to return to chasing's high echelon after injury. Heros Collonges has not been out since sluicing up in a novices' chase at Kempton almost three years ago for Guillaume Macaire. By then he was ante-post favourite for the Royal & SunAlliance Chase. Now he is back and this time he is old. Ten to be precise. More recent history suggests No Refuge (2.35) is the likely winner of this contest.

The other Manor Farm horse rising from his sickbed is Strong Flow, the Hennessy Gold Cup winner of 2003, at the time the shooting star of jump racing. The only shooting after that though was caused by pain from an injury to his near fore. Strong Flow has been off for over a year now, but, according to owner Barry Marshall, he has been setting the gallops alight. Nicholls is more circumspect, and has offered the opinion that the damage may have blunted Strong Flow's speed.

It may be prudent to side with a horse which has been slightly more active. Celtic Son (2.05) was a facile winner at Newbury on Wednesday and Pipe again rolls out the gelding.

Pipe also has prospects at Kempton, with Mondial Jack (2.50), who may even have managed to fool the great trainer. It appears the six-year-old has been running over trips outside his compass. That mistake has not been made today.

The novices' chase should provide a restorative for Made In Japan (2.20), while Pipe, once again, has the super trouper in the Lanzarote Hurdle. Royal Hector, the favourite, has won all five of his races since joining the Nicholashayne army this season, progressing from a handicap mark of 96 to 130. That is how good Pipe is. But, on this occasion, the Pond House man may have to give second best to another horse apparently soaring upwards.

Mr President is a raw young beast, one with hurdling flaws to iron out judged by his two recent displays at Leicester. That he won those appointments by 21 lengths and a distance respectively shows what the ex-German horse might be able to do when his jumping matures.

"He is fine, but this is a massive step," Venetia Williams, the trainer, said yesterday. Despite the defensive talk Williams is happy to throw in her horse. MR PRESIDENT (nap 3.25) will not do the same with his towel.

* Timmy Murphy escaped a ban at a Jockey Club inquiry yesterday but was fined £300. Murphy faced the disciplinary panel after being involved in an altercation with an official at Fontwell Park in November.

* Totesport have come up with a "tote v SP" for Kempton today. Punters placing a tote win single off-course with totesport on any of the races will be paid the difference if the SP is bigger.

News
Residents of James Turner Street such as White Dee will have a chance to share their experiences of benefits on a Channel 4 spin-off show
peopleBenefits Street star says mixed-race children were subjected to trolling
Sport
Angel Di Maria
Football
News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
film
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
News
newsIn short, yes
Extras
indybest
News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
Life and Style
Jourdan Dunn gave TopShop’s Unique show some added glamour at London Fashion Week
fashion week
News
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
News
i100
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

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Job opportunity for a nursery nurse...

McAfee Security Engineer

£42000 - £48000 per annum + Site allowance: Ashdown Group: McAfee EPO Speciali...

English Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Experience...

Higher Level Teaching Assistants in Bradford and West Leeds

£65 - £75 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We are currently seeking Higher L...

Day In a Page

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
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories