Racing: Grand Stand finish for Pipe

Make A Stand produced an astonishing display here yesterday to turn the Tote Gold Trophy, the most valuable - and ostensibly the most competitive - handicap hurdle in Europe into a one-horse contest. The little white-faced chestnut led from start to finish to take the pounds 44,556 first prize by nine lengths, and for good measure his stable - that of Martin Pipe - also supplied the runner-up Hamilton Silk.

The performance shot Make A Stand, arguably the most improved hurdler in training, right into the Champion Hurdle reckoning. Before yesterday he was 50-1 for the Champion; he is now a best-priced 14-1 with William Hill - Ladbrokes and Coral offer just 10-1.

The six-year-old, who had won his three previous races in his trademark front-running, catch-me-if-you-can style, was undeniably well-handicapped, but yesterday's task was still his toughest to date. Yet he simply obliterated his rivals, 20 lengths clear at half-way with the race sewn up.

His rider, Chris Maude, said: "Our only concern beforehand was we knew we had to get a breather into him at some point, and thought the cross hurdle before the turn for home would be the place.

"When I looked round I could hardly believe it. There was nothing good enough or near enough to challenge me even though I'd throttled back for a bit. The way he has won a race of this standard he's got to be considered a Champion Hurdle horse."

Make A Stand jumped the last flight as well as he cleared the first, and came home to the sort of reception that a horse backed from 12-1 a month ago to 6-1 is generally accorded.

Hamilton Silk, on whom the Australian jockey Jamie Evans was having his first British ride since breaking a leg at Cheltenham last year, ran on well to deprive Direct Route of second place. The winning distance was the third-longest in the race's 34-year history, Hill House having won by 12 lengths in 1967 and Irish Fashion by 10 in 1976.

Make A Stand, who runs in businessman Peter Deal's colours, was acquired for a mere 8,000 guineas after winning a Leicester claimer on the Flat in August 1995, got off the mark over hurdles in a maiden event at Newton Abbot last May. Happily for Pipe, he still owns half the horse. "I tried to sell my half, but no one wanted it," he said.

Typically, Pipe was unsurprised by the ease of yesterday's victory, which brought the gelding's earnings to nearly pounds 130,000. He said: "People kept telling me he couldn't win a race like this, that he'd always had it so easy at the weights before. But he is a very good, tough horse, a real athlete who loves racing and he's run and jumped them ragged."

Equally typically, Pipe would not commit Make A Stand to the Champion Hurdle at this stage. He said: "He is in the novice races as well. We'll have to talk about it, but whatever happens he won't run before Cheltenham. We'll be looking after him."

No decision about the Festival target of another of Pipe's stars, Cyborgo, was forthcoming either after the seven-year-old's fuss-free win in the novices' chase. Last year's Stayers' Hurdle winner has been touted as a Gold Cup candidate and lengthened away from Buckhouse Boy between the last two as soon as Richard Dunwoody asked, but Pipe said: "He'll have another run, and then we'll see."

Double Symphony followed last Saturday's hurdles win at Sandown by landing the Game Spirit Chase on her return to fences. The chestnut mare will appear at Cheltenham in either the Queen Mother Champion Chase or the Cathcart Chase.

It was a fairly bloodless victory for Double Symphony after the withdrawal of Viking Flagship because of a mildly bruised foot, but Brooks is leaning away from the Champion Chase. "I'm not really sure she's up to that class," he said. In Viking Flagship's absence, Klairon Davis established himself as favourite to retain his Champion Chase title with a comfortable win at Navan yesterday.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
voicesBy the man who has
people... and stop them from attacking people
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?