Pipe’s Meteor the Power play
The Pipe family have a tremendous record in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, and Easter Meteor looks decent value to further enhance it with victory in the feature contest at Cheltenham today (2.30).
Martin Pipe won the race seven times before handing over the reigns to son David, who saddled Great Endeavour to land the spoils in 2011.
Easter Meteor is now having his first run for the latter after leaving Emma Lavelle, and is a fascinating contender judged on his run in the contest 12 months ago.
The eight-year-old had a length lead and was staying on stronglly when coming to grief at the second last, leaving the way clear for Johns Spirit to pick up the pieces and go on to victory.
Whether Easter Meteor would have prevailed had he stood on his feet is of course debatable, but the gelding was showing no signs of stopping and undoubtedly would have been bang there at the finish and now meets the winner on 9lb better terms.
In my mind he looked the likely winner before capsizing, and although 8lb higher in the weights it would be no surprise to see Easter Meteor improve for the switch to Pipe.
The Pond House handler has a knack of freshening up horses and getting the very best out of them, and Easter Meteor has already shown a high level of form over the obstacles having won three times and been placed on four occasions from 13 starts.
Easter Meteor also has a good record fresh and with Tom Scudamore in the saddle, and the tongue-tie fitted for the first time, everything points to a huge run.
Last year’s winner Johns Spirit is an obvious danger given his tremendous record at the track.
The Jonjo O’Neill trained gelding is bidding to become the sixth dual winner of the contest.
The seven-year-old beat Colour Squadron in the race 12 months ago off a mark of 139 and now has to race off 17lb higher.
However, the son of Gold Well looked better than ever when scoring over course and distance on seasonal reappearance last month and comes alive at the venue.
Johns Spirit has won three of his last four runs over course and distance and finished a fine fourth of 23 behind Ballynagour in the Byrne Group Plate at the Festival on the other occasion.
With Richie McLernon in the saddle who rides him to perfection, Johns Spirt looks sure to give it his best shot but may struggle to cope with Easter Meteor on today’s terms judged on last year’s contest.