Racing: Pipe dream continues with another century

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The Independent Online
Racing

RICHARD EDMONDSON

Martin Pipe passes milestones like a Greyhound bus and the most prolific trainer of modern times had another landmark in his rear view mirror yesterday as he reached 100 winners for the 10th consecutive season.

It was fitting that Pipe should record the figure at Taunton, which is both his local course and the arena that has seen other notable moments in a career that began modestly in 1977. In that year Hit Parade gave the trainer his first winner at the Somerset track and it was also there that he reached his first 50 winners eight years later.

In September, in the neighbouring county, Pipe also posted a figure which lends testament to his enduring ability when at Exeter Runaway Pete became his 2,000th winner.

Yesterday's red-letter horse was All Clear, who was almost the target for a bullet after his last racecourse venture. "All Clear is lucky to be alive after a bad fall at Wincanton last time," Pipe said. "He was so bad we thought he'd broken a shoul-der and I kissed him goodbye in the racecourse stable. But, thanks to everybody con-cerned, he's made a brilliant recovery."

Earlier Pipe's Chaprassi had the EBF National Hunt Novices' Hurdle sewn up when his closest pursuer the highly-regarded Mister Morose fell two flights from the finish.

David Bridgwater's celebrations with his employer were truncated when the rider was given a four-day suspension for his robust effort (particularly with the whip) on All Clear.

The Pond House stable jockey is 18 winners behind the pacesetter, Tony McCoy, in the championship and will almost inevitably drop further behind because he has been a victim, in his opinion, of inconsistency.

"At certain meetings recently there have been jockeys being a lot more severe than I was," he said. "There seems to be inconsistency among the stewards. I come here and drive one out to win the race and then I get four days. It's unbelievable.

"I will have a word with the Jockeys' Association secretary Michael Caulfield about the ban, but at the moment I do not intend to appeal, even though it rules me out of the big Cheltenham meeting on 27 January."

David Gandolfo also cont-ributed to the numbers game when Garrylough provided him with his 800th winner, but the most appreciated victory of the afternoon was Killeshin's success in the marathon handicap chase.

When his trainer, John Manners, emerges with a cup of tea each morning at his Swindon yard it is not destined for his spouse, it appears. "I think more of this horse than my wife as I ride him all the time at home, rounding up cows," he said. "I love him and there will be some celebrating tonight."

Manners' glee was apparent facially, though his words were less distinctive. "I've got my best gear on - as I thought he'd win - but I've forgotten my false teeth," he said. "So don't ask me many questions."

This was Killeshin's first triumph since capturing the Foxhunters' Chase at Aintree in 1994, and he is now likely to return to Merseyside for the Grand National.

Further success there would secure a bonus of pounds 50,000 and provide for Manners' funeral expenses. "If we win the Grand National I think I'll die," he said.

"But I'll give him one more run before then but I don't know where," he added.

Mark Perrett was knocked unconscious when his mount, Hullo Mary Doll, unseated him in the Yarcombe Novice Handicap Hurdle at Taunton. Brought back in an ambulance, the jockey was then taken to Musgrove Park Hospital for a precautionary x-ray examination.

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