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Racing: Pipe runs three but record is wretched

MARTIN PIPE saddles three horses in today's Tote Sandown Hurdle, including the short-priced favourite, Moondigua. But a look at the trainer's record in this contest would deter many punters.

Pipe ran five when a field of 13 contested this race a year ago. They trailed in 7th, 8th, 11th, 12th - while the other fell. The one in 8th was the 11-4 favourite, Big Strand.

In the 1997 running, Pipe's sole representative finished 6th of 13. A year before that, the stable's two runners were third and 11th in a field of 14. In 1995, Pipe's Allegation finished last.

The stable made no mistake at Lingfieldyesterday, however, with a 1-14 shot, Majadou. One of Pipe's leading Cheltenham hopes, Majadou completed his hat-trick in the Adventure Novice Chase.

The French import, who is entered in the Arkle, Cathcart and Royal & SunAlliance Chases at the Festival, made all to win by a distance. Barth- olomew Fair was the only other finisher. Majadou's owner, Chris Batterham, said: "I don't know what he will go for at the Festival. Martin will probably make his decision on the Monday before the big meeting."