Cheltenham Festival 2011 

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By Billy Blakeman ValueChecker

Can Shoegazer Give David the Martin Pipe Hurdle?

David Pipe sent out two winners on day three of the Festival on Thursday with Buena Vista and Junior, and would no doubt love to win the race bearing his father’s name, the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle, on Friday. His sole runner, Shoegazer, hasn’t been hit too hard by the handicapper, having been raised 5lb for his a decisive victory at Ffos Las last month and should be on the premises.

© Racehorse Photos


This race looks very open, though, and I’m inclined to split stakes and back a couple at rewarding odds. Indeed, at around 25-1 and 20-1 respectively, Barizan and Siberian Tiger make a fair amount of appeal. The former has struggled for the most part this season, but he likes this track (record here reads 12236) and he was runner-up in two Grade 1 as a novice last season, including the Triumph Hurdle at this meeting, before winning one at Punchestown. This is his easiest assignment for some time and he could prove hard to peg back.

Siberian Tiger was outclassed when third in a four-runner contest behind Binocular at Sandown last month, but that run should have put him spot-on for this engagement. He was fourth in a hot handicap at Aintree’s Grand National meeting last spring and also chased home Ashkazar in a Listed event at Sandown. A reproduction of either of those efforts would surely see him go close here.

Sir Des Champs, a ready winner on debut for Willie Mullins at Navan in January, is an unknown quantity. That race, and the one he landed in France prior to joining Mullins, were gained on much softer ground than he will encounter here. However, he’s an intriguing contender, while King of The Night, Qaspal and Shalone are all players, too.

Recommendation: BARIZAN & SIBERIAN TIGER (both each-way)


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