Need some help finding the winner of the 2023 edition of the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle? Well, look no further because our team of experts at Bookmakers.com have done the hard work for you by pinpointing the most critical trends and pointers from the last 10 renewals in order to help you find the winner of the Cheltenham Festival’s final contest.
Winners of this Cheltenham handicap hurdle come from all sorts of places, but the recent trend has been for the race to go to a decent novice, just short of Grade 1 class.
It therefore pays to keep an eye on Grade 3 and Grade 2 novices' hurdles, as well as paying attention to five and six-year-olds running in handicaps run over 2m4f or further.
Because the race is for conditional riders, it is unlikely that any pilot will win it more than once. The last 10 winners were ridden by jockeys that had never previously ridden a Cheltenham Festival winner.
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Banbridge, who had won three hurdle races, including over 2m5f, was an obvious bet. He had been tested only one in handicap company over 2m and finished seventh, leaving him unexposed.
Gordon Elliott has a strong recent record in the Martin Pipe and his Hollow Games, who finished third, looked a very strong trends pick having found the likes of Minella Cocooner and company too hot to handle in Grade 1 company at the Dublin Racing Festival.
He looked a progressive hurdler prior to that and was already a 2m4f winner.
Chemical Energy from the same stable also looked to fit the bill, having won over 2m4f and finished second in a 2m Grade 3. He finished eighth.
🇮🇪 Irish eyes are smiling on the final day of #TheFestival— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 18, 2022
All seven races go to Irish trainers with Banbridge powering to glory for Mark McDonagh & @JosephOBrien2 in the Ronnie Bartlett colours @CheltenhamRaces pic.twitter.com/4hT5AlRG19
Like all Cheltenham Festival handicaps, this is tricky to predict before the entry stage, but currently there are a couple of eyecatchers that fit the trends.
The strongest trends pick at this stage is Might I, who has run in six hurdle races for trainer Harry Fry and won over 2m2 1/2f. He was second in a Grade 1 novice hurdle last April over 2m4f and was beaten just a neck in a 2m1f handicap hurdle at Cheltenham in January under conditional jockey Lorcan Murtagh, who also won on him at Newton Abbot.
Landrake, a two-time hurdle winner for one of the race's leading trainers Gordon Elliott, is yet to run in a handicap, but looks well-treated on his Irish mark of 135 and is proven over the distance, while Inothewayurthinking was unbeaten in two runs over hurdles until finishing fourth on his first run over 2m4f when stepped up to Grade 1 company.