The Pipes have dominated recent renewals of the Paddy Power Gold Cup at the Open Meeting and the whisper is they will do again today with the talented Ballynagour
Martin and son David Pipe have farmed the Gold Cup in recent years and go to the feature race of the Cheltenham Open Meeting again with an excellent chance in Ballynagour. With the likes of the very classy Dynaste and course specialist Salut Flo at their disposal it is interesting that they have chosen the flashy ex-French Ballynagour. An impressive winner last season at Warwick he travelled well at the Festival but failed to land a blow at the finish. Allegedly the key to the horse is being fresh and thrown in here on a good racing weight he cannot be overlooked. In what is an open and competitive renewal the greatest threats could come from Tony Martin’s raider Gift of Dgab and a rejuvenated Finian’s Rainbow. Champion Court is due for a big run with everything coming right for him according to connections. So many whispers surround the chances of the field but the strongest is for Ballynagour.
The Cheltenham card for the second day of the Open is packed with talent equine and human. The brilliant Bryan Cooper has an eye-catching book of rides which could lead to some long-priced mutiples. Beyond Gift of Dgab in the feature, Recession Proof for John Quinn and Guitar Pete for Dessie Hughes are worthy of note.
Both African Gold and Champagne Fever should make winning debuts over the larger obstacles and are set to have a good season ahead of them.
An excellent card at Lingfield shows what a boost the All Weather Championship has been to the winter flat season.
Crockford’s Dead Cert – Stasio (Lingfield 2.00)
Winner on the same card last season and not disgraced since when running in Dubai. The talk from the gallops last year was that he was very good and a horse to watch. Low weight makes this Dead Cert ever more attractive at a massive price of 16/1
Crockford’s Whisper – Ballynagour e/w (Cheltenham – 2.30)
19 length winner last season on his debut for the Pipe yard. The whisper is his back to that form again. Worth noting that Festival winners were behind him that day at Warwick and may be again today. Best fresh.
Archer’s Selection – African Gold (Cheltenham 1.15)
Archer would not have missed how the trainer of this horse could not wait to go over the fences with this talented novice hurdler. With the excitement surrounding his debut over the bigger obstacles the shrewd jockey would have demanded the booking.
Crockford’s Gambles around the courses on day two of the Cheltenham Open Meeting:
Cheltenham – Guitar Pete e/w (12.40), African Gold (1.15), Burton Port e/w (1.50), Ballynagour e/w and Gift of Dgab e/w (2.30), Recession Proof e/w (3.00), Timesremembered (3.35) and Legacy Gold (4.05)
Lingfield – Steventon Star (1.25), Stasio (2.00), Sugar Boy e/w (2.35) and Hitchens e/w (3.10)
Wetherby – Grouse Lodge (2.05), Fair Trade and Zaplamation e/w (3.15)
Uttoxeter – Ashes House (1.40) and Jugopolist e/w (2.15)
Punchestown – Champagne Fever (1.00), Adams Island e/w (1.35) and Sizing Australia (2.45)
(Featured Photograph – David Pipe and Alastair Down at Cheltenham by Stuart Rice)
(Photograph – Stasio on the gallops at Newmarket by Stuart Rice)