David Pipe is still to win the race at the Cheltenham Festival named after his father, but this could be his year as he saddles Shoegazer in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle.
Shoegazer is 8/1 in the Cheltenham betting to win the 2m4f contest and heads to the Festival in good form, having landed victory at Ffos Las on his latest start.
Meanwhile, underfoot conditions at Ffos Las are virtually identical to what can be expected at Cheltenham, showing that the horse will have no problems handling the ground.
Being the only representative from the yard taking part from the initial six entries, Pipe will be sure to have the horse ready.
He saddled seven runners without success in 2009 and will at least be hoping to improve on his best finish so far, which was when Big Eared Fran claimed third spot in the same year.
Another factor in Shoegazer’s favour is that on the two previous occasions the race has been run, a six-year-old has secured victory both times.
Furthermore, looking at the handicap hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival as a whole, over half of the winners arrive having landed the spoils on their previous start.
King Of The Night is perhaps the horse to lay down the biggest challenge to Shoegazer at 11/1 and has the added advantage of having previously won at Cheltenham.
The booking of Ian Popham to ride the horse is also worth noting, particularly as the pair enjoyed a successful partnership when winning at Doncaster in January.
Sir Des Champs has done little wrong to win on his only two starts and this makes him a worthy favourite at 9/2.
However, this price may be worth opposing as it is yet to be proven how well the horse will run on an English course.
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