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Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle Tips

Friday 15th March 17:30

Below you'll find our betting tips for the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle taking place at 17:30 on Friday 15th March at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival. All of our 2023 Cheltenham betting tips are provided by WhichBookie racing analyst Will Smith. You may have seen Will featured on horse racing media channels such as Racing TV and William Hill Racing. Find hot tips for the 2024 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle below.

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Bookie Selection Best Odds Market Bet
No Ordinary Joe 12/112/1 EW (5 Places / NRNB)
Will Smith
Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle
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Date of Tips: 27/02/2024

Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (08:00 27/02/2024) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.

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As I write, we are but hours away from the unveiling of the weights for the Cheltenham Festival handicaps, and there will be much teeth-gnashing, mark-quibbling consternation no doubt, about the fact that this horse or that horse will have to carry an extra lb or two more than connections would like – despite the fact that horses are half ton animals who wouldn’t feel or know that is the case either way!

Time and time again, Cheltenham Festival handicaps are won by tactics, race-riding, positioning, ability to handle ground, jumping and many more factors which have much more relevance than a horse carrying the equivalent of us humans carrying an apple or two more while running!

Which is why I’m not too fussed about what marks the horses get, and would prefer to focus on the provens, the tangibles, and the likelihoods.

No Ordinary Joe is proven at Cheltenham, having finished a remarkable 3rd in the 2021 Greatwood Hurdle despite pulling like a mustang, and was also an excellent runner-up to the very smart Iroko in last season’s Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.

Tangibly, No Ordinary Joe is in excellent form coming into this season’s big spring jamboree, having (ahem…) ‘caught the eye’ when 3rd at Kempton Park last Saturday. It was a run which will have put the finishing touches on a preparation to go one better than last season. 

Likelihood is that the second week of March became his big date with destiny this season ever since an abortive chase debut at Newbury back before Christmas.

So, at 12/1 each-way with Bet365 for 5 places, ‘Non-Runner, Money Back’, No Ordinary Joe is worth supporting for the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.

Expect No Ordinary Joe to put up a bold show, and safe in the knowledge that you’ll get refunded on the bet, he is worth locking in now as he will surely be shorter on the day.

Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
DateTimeDistanceType
Friday 15/03/202417:302m 4fHurdle

The Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle is the penultimate race of the Cheltenham Festival. The race is named after Martin Pipe, a legendary trainer who trained 34 winners at the Cheltenham Festival, and is one of the most competitive handicap hurdles of the Festival.

The Grade 3 race features 9 hurdles to be jumped over the New Course at Cheltenham. It is run over a distance of 2 miles and 4 furlongs and is open to horses aged four years or older.

Over the years, the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle has produced some notable winners such as Sir Des Champs, Killultagh Vic, and Champagne Classic.

Previous Tips

2023 Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle Tips [expired]

Will Smith’s Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle Tips

The annual closing cavalry charge of inexperienced horses and also inexperienced jockeys can often throw up a really exciting race, and history has also suggested it can often throw up a really exciting horse too. Galopin Des Champs for instance…

It took Gordon Elliott a while to win the race named after his revered ex-boss, but he duly did so twice in succession with Champagne Classic and Blow By Blow in 2017 and 2018, and it looks highly likely that he could saddle the winner yet again. He has a host of chances.

The best of them though I think is quite possibly Imagine, who is the main recommendation at 11/2 each-way generally for 5 places, or 5/1 with SkyBet and Betfred for 6 places. Until now, Imagine has been exclusively campaigned at 2m, and on every occasion has been galloping out through the line, on all manner of differing ground conditions, and often against high quality opposition.

Most pertinent was his last run, which came at Navan behind the County Hurdle favourite, Hunters Yarn (who has been smashed off the boards for that race already), and given he was asked to race away from the winner in the closing stages, and on what is often the slower part of the track – quite clearly, Imagine has been campaigned with stepping up in trip in decent handicaps, at the forefront of connections minds.

Also, a horse I have liked ever since he ran in the race last year, is worth an additional wager in the race – at 33/1 each-way generally for 5 places, there are reasons to think that not only was Au Fleuron better than the bare form when 7th in the race 12 months ago, but he is a better horse now too, owing to an eye-catching run in cheekpieces at Punchestown the last time we saw him.

He has been declared on a couple of occasions, only to be pulled out for reasons not significant in terms of the horse’s general health or fitness, and so it is assumed Elliott will have him ready and raring. At 33/1 each-way for 5 places generally, maybe Au Fleuron can end our Cheltenham Festival 2023 with a real bang!

2021 Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle Tips [expired]

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Will Smith Betting Tips - CHELTENHAM 2021 - Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle

Will Smith Betting Tips – CHELTENHAM 2021 – Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle

The flying horse making late headway in any race is always the one that most people pick up on as one to note next time out, and often becomes vastly overbet as a result. Quite regularly, these are exactly the type of horse to steer clear of, usually as the appearance of their finishing effort is flattered by careering past tiring rivals.

But when you see a horse make up late ground in two of the most competitive handicap hurdles of the season, against quite notable pace/positioning biases on both occasions, then you know you can scrap the notion that said horse was flattered.

Dr Richard Newland’s progressive handicap hurdler Benson is the horse in question, and having had a good ponder about where and when he might, and indeed should, run next and/or at the Cheltenham Festival, and I have come down on backing him at 16/1 each-way with Paddy Power or Betfair Sportsbook in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, on the Friday of the Festival.

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According to a recent stable tour with the trainer, it seems he is due to be stepped up in trip from the 2m he has been racing over, and may appear at Ascot over about 2m4f in late February. This will act as a fair indicator of the race that he may run in at the Festival, if indeed he is to run there.

The great aspect to backing Benson at 16/1 each-way now with Paddy Power or Betfair is that both of these firms are offering non-runner, no bet (NRNB), and are also offering five places already for each-way bets.

The NRNB concession is key here, as I would only be 50/60% sure that he may run in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle. However, I do feel it is the race he probably should run in, as it not only represents a step up in trip, but also the New Course over which it is run over, allows horses to habitually come from off the pace over hurdles, owing to the stiff and galloping nature, particularly in the closing stages.

The County Hurdle is run over 2m on the New Course on Friday also, but is often a very classy affair, and given Benson’s habit of getting slightly further back than ideal could see him have too much to do in that race.

The Coral Cup would obviously represent a decent opportunity too, as it is run over 2m4½f (the same distance as the Martin Pipe), but crucially the Coral Cup is always contested by classier, more experienced sorts, and also run on the more speed-favouring Old Course.

Watch back both of Benson’s last two runs, and it is clear that given the right set of circumstances, that he can win a big-field handicap. He made up impressive late ground on very soft terrain at Sandown to win on penultimate start, and then in a race run at a hugely inconveniencing tempo for a hold-up performer at Ascot last time, he again was the only one to close (rapidly!) from the rear.

Stepping up in trip on a course that will suit his style, with perhaps a pair of cheekpieces on, and Benson can prove to be very well handicapped, and must be backed with Paddy Power or Betfair at 16/1 each-way for the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle. This is a race that has a ceiling rating of 145, making it the least classy of all the handicap hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival.

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