Title fight

news: Title fight

Pipe rattled up four minor races Monday and Tuesday before Nicholls struck back on Thursday, Ruby Walsh recording a double on My Will and Almost Broke. That left the score at ¤3,952,338 v ¤3,923,114 going into Friday – a mere ¤29,224 the difference. Portman Square now chipped in, the Jockey Club Appeals Committee reinstating a previously disqualified Nicholls ‘winner’, Blue Endeavour, while at Fontwell and Perth, the battle continued on the track. Pipe scored with Commercial Flyer but Nicholls struck back with Goblet of Fire and Napolitan. D-day arrived and extreme measures were needed. Even the retired Rodi Greene was reactivated to ride one of six Pipe entries for the normally insignificant Lan Jam Hurdle at Newton Abbott, although the result would be meaningless if either of the two contenders were to land the valuable Betfred Gold Cup earlier that afternoon. In the event, it didn’t matter as Pipe’s Well Chief pulled four lengths clear of Nicholl’s Azertyuiop at the line in the Betfred to give Pipe his fifteenth champion trainer title.

Saturday also saw A. P McCoy become champion jockey for an incredible tenth time despite switching from the Pipe winners factory to the virus-stricken Jonjo O’Neill yard.

Lastly, keep an eye on Kieren Fallon in this Saturday’s first two Classics of the flat season. He has a good chance of upsetting the favourite Dubawi and fancied Rob Roy in the 2000 Guineas on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Footstepinthesand, not extended in his two races to-date.