Cheltenham Diary: Can Martin Pipe finally win his dad's race?

 

When Cheltenham named a race after Martin Pipe in 2009, it seemed a near certainty that son David, a chip off the old block when it comes to readying one for a valuable handicap, would soon be farming "Dad's race" on a regular basis.

But it has not worked out that way. It started promisingly enough when Big Eared Fran was third in the inaugural running, but since then it has gone from bad to worse with a succession of gambles going belly-up, including Gevrey Chambertin, a spectacular flopping favourite last year.

Pipe now relies on Vieux Lion Rouge, the winner of six of his seven starts, and, sure enough, punters have taken the plunge again.

The stable is in red-hot form this week and this clearly talented French-bred gelding might well be a handicap snip. But you have been warned.

Simon's pole dance to beat the fog

It was all looking a bit ominous when the fog rolled in over Prestbury and hadn't shifted by lunchtime, but Cheltenham head of racing, Simon Claisse, insisted he was never bothered: "As long as the judge can see the half-furlong pole, we are officially OK to race and if

it had got to the stage where he couldn't, I would have gone out there myself and moved it!"

Legend Arkle's Gold anniversary

It's fair to say that today's Gold Cup hasn't really captured the public's imagination, unlike 50 years ago when Arkle leapt into folklore by beating Mill House for the first of his three wins in chasing's Blue Riband event.

It is also the 20th anniversary of Peter O'Sullevan's last Gold Cup commentary for the BBC. The Voice of Racing, 96 last week, hasn't been at this Cheltenham Festival, the first time he has missed the meeting since before the war.

Pineau shows his National threat

Pineau de Re can still be backed at 50/1 for the Grand National, despite catching the eye when completing his unconventional preparation for the big race with a close third in a thrilling finale to the Pertemps Hurdle.

The versatile 11-year-old often promises more than he delivers, but Dr Richard Newland, his trainer, was pleasantly surprised by his willing response to pressure this time and so now it's all systems go for Aintree.

The judge needed a magnifying glass to determine that Fingal Bay had beaten Southfield Theatre by one-and-a-half pixels, the second time this week that trainer Philip Hobbs has won out in a head-bobber following Balthazar King's victory in the Cross Country Chase.

An easy Ryder as Britain beat Irish

Ireland had more winners than Great Britain for the first time ever at last year's Festival (14-13), a feat which prompted the Cheltenham executive to launch a trophy.

A bit like golf's Ryder Cup, the first to 14 wins lifts the Prestbury Cup. Ireland went into the third day 9-5 behind, but there was no spirit-of-Medinah comeback as GB rattled off the first five races to clinch the prize with more than a day to spare.

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
News
i100
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all