A lot of pressure comes when taking over from one of the most successful National Hunt trainers of all time, especially when he happens to be your dad.
But David Pipe has eased into his role as head of the Pond House stable, and the Kim Muir is a race which the stable enjoys saddling runners in – Martin Pipe saddled three, only Fred Rimell has saddled more.
Last year’s renewal confirmed the Pipe’s love of this race when the fast finishing Faasel came back from a 267-day absence to take second place.
This year David Pipe saddles the 6/1 favourite and on the basis of Cheltenham form, it’s hard to see anything beat him
There have been two winning favourites since the turn of the millennium but they have been sandwiched in between winners with SP’s of 8/1 up to 40/1, and the fact that Junior is the favourite is the one negative against him.
But a second and third at Cheltenham in his last two starts in big fields is tremendous form and he will take all the beating.
Between them Richard Burton and Richard Harding have ridden four of the last six winners of this race but in Minella Theatre, Burton rides a 33/1 chance whose form around Cheltenham is awful.
Harding will have to defy the stats which tell us that there have been just four winners in the last 31 runnings if he is to ride Alderley Rover (20/1) to victory, but the Donald McCain-trained seven-year-old finished fourth on his only start around Cheltenham and won last time out at Musselburgh.
Can’t Buy Time has the Cheltenham form to win this race but carrying top weight, it’s going to be a difficult ask and this is reflected in his 20/1 price.
A £20 stake on Junior winning the Kim Muir Challenge Cup would return £140. New customers can sign up here to get £60 in free bets.