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Cheltenham

  • 16:40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle2m 4f 110y

  • £50,000 added 4yo+ 23 ran
  • Winner: £
  • Going: Good to Soft, Good in places
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 4m 58.50s
  • Off time: 16:40:45

Town Takes Pipe Prize

By Tom Peacock, PA Sport.   Last Updated: 13/03/09 6:43pm

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Andytown wins for Nicky Henderson.

Andytown wins for Nicky Henderson.

Nicky Henderson notched up his third winner of the week when Andytown spoiled the Pond House dream in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle.

David Pipe saddled eight runners in the race named in honour of his father but the best he could manage was third with Big Eared Fran.

Andytown (25-1) travelled supremely well throughout for Felix de Giles, but for a brief moment it looked as if Neil Mulholland's small yard were going to cause a 100-1 shock as Midnight Chase hit the front.

Having won at the track in November, Andytown was put up a massive 18lb for that success but the handicapper has obviously still not got to grips with him.

Big Eared Fran made stealthy headway before flattening out in third but Andytown bolted up by nine lengths.

Henderson said: "He's been chasing since winning here but to be perfectly honest with you, he hated jumping fences.

"He didn't like it the first time so I thought he had a good enough mark over hurdles and he won here in November then got beaten at Wetherby, so I went back chasing but he's hated it twice now.

"That meant I had no option but to send him back over hurdles and even schooling over them he has been so much happier.

"I didn't want to say anything but I thought he was my dark horse nap of the week.

"He's bred to be a chaser but at the moment he isn't one. The ground and trip were fine, Felix has won on him before and has ridden him very well indeed.

"The only thing is he can't jump fences and he's going to be badly handicapped!"

De Giles said: "That's my first win at the Festival so I'm obviously delighted with that.

"I won on him in November and he's a funny old horse. He doesn't seem to be travelling early on but he's always finishing nicely so I'm delighted with that."

Mulholland said of Midnight Chase: "He didn't deserve to be a 100-1 shot as he has a very good record.

"Everything went according to plan, it was just that he found one too good. I expect he'll go chasing after May."

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