Conditional Jockeys Hurdle Tips - 5:30pm Cheltenham

2020 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle Preview

The final race of the four day Festival is for Conditional Jockeys, it gives the young stars of the future a chance to ride a Cheltenham winner in front of a full house.

If you look at the roll of honour you will see that 5 or 6yo’s have won all but one of the last ten renewals and the vast majority were placed in the first three in their last run. Basically you want a young hurdler who is in good form. You may also be wise to concentrate on one of the top yards as the last 7 winners have been trained by the likes of Willie Mullins, Paul Nicholls, Gordon Elliott and Joseph O’Brien.

Obviously the race is named after Martin Pipe and his son David has been trying to train the winner of this race since he was able to! In the early days he used to throw anything at the race but these days he is more selective. Umbrigado represents the yard this time and he has some decent form in the book.

He ran over 3m at Haydock earlier in the season and he finished a decent 5th, I think that was a sighter just to see if he stayed the trip. Last time out he dropped back to two miles where he was 6th at Ascot, he lost a shoe that day so the form is hard to weigh up.

Willie Mullins had a dozen entered in this to begin with, Five O'clock looks the most interesting of his three confirmed runners,. Only a 5yo he was second at Tramore on his Irish debut in December and then won at Limerick at the end of January. Last time out he beat Front View in good style and looks to be an improving sort.

Stable mate My Sister Sarah comes here on the back of fall last time out at Leopardstown behind Black Tears, it was too far from home to make any judgment but prior to that ran well enough behind Stormy Ireland in a Grade 3 Mares race.

Gordon Elliott had a similar amount of original entries as Mullins and the 6yo Column Of Fire looks to be his best chance. He won at Punchestown in January and then made his handicap debut at Leopardstown at the Dublin Festival. He ran a very creditable 3rd behind Treacysenniscorthy that day but is now 11lbs higher here so needs to step up again.

Elliott has four runners in total plus a reserve and The Bosses Oscar looks a leading contender here. A very consistent type who has won twice this season and this will be his first handicap. He gets in here on a mark of 137 and that looks fair enough.

One of the fancied runners is Pileon for Philip Hobbs, he was 4th behind Chantry House here on his hurdles debut and then bagged a weak race at Catterick next time out. He then went to Ffos Las and found another simple opportunity and won that by 20 lengths, he comes here totally unexposed and has to go on the shortlist.

Owner JP McManus won the race 12 months ago with Early Doors and he has a couple of chances to follow up. Ilikedwayurthinkin is a 6yo trained by Gavin Cromwell and he has improved no end since taking a weak handicap off a mark of 111 back in July.

He followed up at Galway in August and then was put away for a break. Last time out he was a very eye-catching 5th of 25 at Leopardstown at their Christmas meeting and instantly went into many notebooks for a valuable handicap in the future. Well he hasn’t run since so connections have been sitting on his mark of 139 and must think he has a squeak here.

Joseph O'Brien had Front View entered in a couple of handicaps and has deceided on this race for the improving 5yo. He was second to Envoi Allen on his hurdling debut at Down Royal and then won at Cork next time out. Last time he stepped up in trip at Thurles but was outpointed by the Mullins horse Five o'clock. he was slightly hampered at the last that day so connections will be confident of reversing that form at least.

O'Brien also runs Assemble who was 3rd in that Thurles race for Gigginstown Stud and he will be ridden by Oakley Brown who used to be with Richard Fahey on the level. Prior to that he had won at Limerick but was only 6th when stepped up in class behind Latest Exhibition.

Dan Skelton runs Flash The Steel who is from the older brigade, he’s an 8yo and has won three times from eight starts. He’s steadily crept up the handicap so probably doesn’t have anything to hide unlike many of his opponents. Last time out he ran below par over a trip too far but prior to that has the form that gives him a chance.

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