Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle Betting Tips
This is not only the last big betting handicap of the week, but also the final race of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival.
21 inexperienced jockeys guide their horses around 2 miles, 4½ furlongs of the New Course as we look for an angle that can help us go out on a high.
In 14 renewals we’ve seen four 5-year-olds, eight 6-year-olds and a pair of 7-year-olds win. All winners have carried between 11-01 and 11-10, while winning odds have been spread fairly from 9/2 up to 25/1.
More prevalent is recent form. Other than one winner who’d unseated in their previous run, all winners have finished in the first six last time out. In fact, six of them won and 9/14 were in the first three.
That helps us out as we try to eliminate as many runners as possible, leading us to these six shortlisted horses:
Rather too big a price in our book is six-year-old Buddy One. In terms of rate of improvement, but rarely see a trajectory like his.
True, he started from a low base when running to a mark of around 85 first time up over hurdles in October, but in the five months since he has been given official ratings of 102, 109, 111 and now 131.
It’s obvious then that he hasn’t finished getting better yet and his profile fits.
Willie Mullins just chucks out horses at major festivals with winning chances and he’s done it again the with underestimated and overpriced Haxo.
Though raced four times over timber, he’s only put in two good efforts so far which could actually be a good thing for punters. Had he been more consistent he may still have come to a race like this, but would have been handicapped correctly.
In this case he ran OK in second on debut last February before two very bad runs when pulling hard on soft ground.
Having settled well in January at Punchestown, he scored in a maiden race to a mark in the 130’s, making his official 132 fair but with the obvious prospect of a good amount of improvement to come.
A last-time-out winner, trained by Nicky Henderson and a recent winner, Impulsive One does fit the basic profile for this race and thus, he makes our shortlist.
There is a major caveat with him however and that is that he has done all his best work on good ground and will face a very different task on Friday.
Paul Nicholls’ five-year-old grey is on a four-timer now after wins at Taunton, Fakenham and Ascot.
The first two wouldn’t have necessarily put him in many notebooks for this event, but the Ascot victory most certainly did.
In a strong field he went clear towards the last when Harry Cobden looked to put the race beyond doubt and, though his lead was reduced late on, he crossed the line to ultimately score comfortably and he very much enters calculations.
On paper, and we stress ‘on paper’, Iroko is the epitome of a potential Martin Pipe winner.
He is five years old, carries 11st5lbs and is a last-time-out winner. In fact, he’s won his last two runs at Wetherby and looks better each time he performs.
His latest victory for Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero was a very easy one. He pulled 14 lengths clear that day and it could have been more.
The fact he did it on soft ground is important and he’s now been given 62 days off; not enough to take the edge off him but not so recent that he still feels the effects.
Of a mark of 138 this horse looks very well handicapped indeed for rider Aidan Kelly and it would be a surprise if he couldn’t go close.
Mark Of Gold
Another recent winner at a big price is Gary Moore’s Mark Of Gold.
This six-year-old is another horse who comes into this race off a 14-length success, but the fact that it was achieved on good ground may have influenced the bookmakers and the punters.
It shouldn’t, as he has also won on soft ground so he should be able to get through these conditions just fine under jockey Caoilin Quinn who has won on him before.
Though we liked the manor of Irish Hill’s latest win, two horses did stand out once again.
Willie Mullins’ Haxo for one, who can come on plenty now in this sort of company, and the hat-trick-seeking IROKO who looks real quality at the weights and very much fits the profile of a Martin Pipe winner.