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Posted by Cory Grayce on October 15, 2021 at 5:00pm 0 Comments

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Pipe dominated National Hunt racing for nearly two decades

Sounds like a phenomenal amount of wins doesn't it?  Well that's because it is and it is a record that remains uncontested.  Pipe first became a National Hunt champion trainer in 1988-89 with 208 winners which was far and above the previous record of 120 which had been achieved by Michael Dickinson in 1982-83.  Following that, Pipe just kept on and on setting new records, and not just records that brought him slightly above the previous record - he always surpassed records by a mammoth amount.  Included in his records are: the most prize money in a season (£2,827,073 in 2004-05), the fastest century of winners, the fastest double century and the most trainers championships (fifteen).


Pipe dominated National Hunt racing for nearly two decades, and set new standards for horse training - using equine swimming pools, interval training and uphill all-weather gallops and treadmills.  His innovative outlook even saw him set up his own laboratory in order to blood-test his horses in order to horizontal flue pipe analyse their metabolism.


He set benchmark after benchmark - he had thirty-two winners at the Cheltenham Festival, completed the full set of the major Nationals having won the Grand National, the Welsh, the Irish and the Scottish Nationals.  He had eighty-one runners in the Grand National which excludes five in the void race of 1993, and it could be said that many of the most prominent jockeys of today got to where they are because of working with Martin Pipe.  Peter Scudamore, Richard Dunwoody and Tony McCoy were guaranteed the jockey's championship when they worked as his stable jockey - all they had to do was survive taking so many races all over the country.


Pipe's success was made possible because of his father David Pipe, who sold his thirty-five West Country betting offices in order to finance the training facilities at Pond House.  Rather than take over the bookmaking business as expected Martin chose to start training.


So following in Martins footsteps was always going to be a daunting prospect for son David surely?  However David was well prepared for the challenge of running the Pond House Racing Stables, on the Somerset-Devon border.  He had been tutored in riding by Jimmy Frost and rode twenty-two winners between the flags in his first five seasons, but he fought against the weight of his six foot four frame.  He began to train point-to-pointers at Purchas Farm, a mile from Pond House, achieving 164 wins over six seasons.  David began to work for his father as assistant trainer before taking over from him in 2005-06 and just ten days later had his first winner at Kelso with Standin Obligation, who had been his father's last winner.


While Pipe Jnr has been very successful as a trainer - he just achieved the milestone of 400 wins as a licensed trainer, which is a remarkable achievement considering he has only been training for a few years.  He also won the Grand National in 2008 with Comply or Die - something that took his father twenty years to achieve.  Unfortunately there have recently been rumours that boxes at Pond House are to be let out to another trainer.  While David is an outstanding trainer, total numbers of winners have dropped each season and numbers have declined to around 100 horses, so space may be let out to up and coming trainer Neil Mulholland.  Despite this, Pipe has many good contenders for the National this year, including previous winner Comply or Die, as well as Madison Du Berlais, The Package and Our Vic.              


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