MARTIN PIPE HURDLE

The Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle is the final race of the Festival and is restricted to apprentice (conditional) jockeys.

It attracts a big field of closely rated runners - usually a compressed handicap with ratings from about 135 to 145.

Listed | 4yo+ | Friday 17.30 
2 miles 4½ furlongs | 10 hurdles | New Course
Weight: 10st - 11st 10lb (handicap)*
Prize money (2022): £75,000 | 1st: £39,023
*Penalty: after February 27th, a winner of a hurdle 5lb (no penalty to increase a horse's weight above 11st 10lb)

The race is named after Martin Pipe who trained 34 Cheltenham Festival winners, as well as being champion trainer 15 times.

Sir Des Champs and Don Poli both won this handicap hurdle en route to future Festival success over fences.

Sir Des Champs returned to win the Jewson (now Turners) Novices' Chase, and Don Poli the RSA (now Brown Advisory) Chase.

Both were subsequently placed in the Gold Cup, while Galopin Des Champs would also have followed up in the Turners Chase but for his unfortunate slip after the last in 2022.

All three were trained by Willie Mullins.

4 of the last 5 winners were rated 142+
Horses carrying 11st or less are 0-95
7 of the last 9 winners were Irish trained
Willie Mullins has trained 4 winners (24 runners)
12/14 winners were aged 6 or younger
Horses aged 8+ are 0-59
1/14 favourites won
Updated to include 2022 renewal

Stamina is a key ingredient in this race, with a fierce end-to-end gallop assured.

The ceiling for ratings was raised to 145 in 2012 and the race has tended to go to a horse towards the top of the handicap of late.

No horse older than seven has won the race, with lightly raced hurdlers (often novices) coming to the fore.

Gigginstown Stud have had four Martin Pipe Hurdle winners: Sir Des Champs, Don Poli, Champagne Classic and Blow By Blow.

Significantly, in each of those four renewals they had just one representative.

Sir Des Champs (2011) is the only successful favourite so far and 10 of the 14 winners have been sent off at double-figure odds.

Despite being desperate to win the race for obvious reasons, David Pipe’s record currently stands at 0-23.

LAST 5 WINNERS’ DATA

YEAR
AGE
OFFICIAL RATING
WEIGHT
2022
6
137
11-3
2021
5
142
11-9
2020
7
145
11-9
2019
6
145
11-10
2018
7
144
11-10

PREVIOUS WINNERS

YEAR
WINNER
JOCKEY / TRAINER
SP
2022
Banbridge
Mark McDonagh / Joseph O'Brien
12/1
2021
Galopin Des Champs
Sean O'Keeffe / W P Mullins
8/1
2020
Indefatigable
Rex Dingle / Paul Webber
25/1
2019
Early Doors
Jonjo O'Neill Jr  / Joseph O'Brien
5/1
2018
Blow By Blow
Donagh Meyler / Gordon Elliott
11/1
2017
Champagne Classic
James Slevin / Gordon Elliott
12/1
2016
Ibis Du Rheu
Jack Sherwood / Paul Nicholls
14/1
2015
Killultagh Vic
Luke Dempsey / W P Mullins
7/1
2014
Don Poli
Mikey Fogarty / W P Mullins
12/1
2013
Salubrious
Harry Derham / Paul Nicholls
16/1
2012
Attaglance
Harry Haynes / Malcolm Jefferson
20/1
2011
Sir Des Champs
Emmet Mullins / W P Mullins
9/2f
2010
Pause and Clause
Johnny Farrelly / Emma Lavelle
14/1
2009
Andytown
Felix de Giles / Nicky Henderson
25/1

Banbridge recorded a third Festival success for trainer Joseph O’Brien in 2022 - and his second Martin Pipe Hurdle winner.

It was jockey Mark McDonagh's first ever ride in Britain:

‘IT WAS UNREAL WHEN I CROSSED THE LINE. I’VE NEVER WITNESSED ANYTHING LIKE IT BEFORE...I KNOW HALF THE PEOPLE HAVE GONE HOME, BUT THIS HALF ARE CLASS’

The 2021 Martin Pipe Hurdle winner was Galopin Des Champs - a sixth winner of the week for Willie Mullins:

Indefatigable snatched a last gasp victory in 2020, despite having to contend with traffic problems.

The mare was the joint biggest-priced winner of the race to date at 25/1:

Jonjo O'Neill Jr delivered the Joseph O'Brien-trained Early Doors to perfection in 2019:

Blow By Blow defied top weight with an accomplished front-running ride by Donagh Meyler, to give Gordon Elliott his second successive win in the race in 2018:

‘MARTIN PIPE WAS MY HERO SO TO WIN HIS RACE AGAIN IS BRILLIANT, IT MAKES IT EXTRA SPECIAL’