Childrens List worth a look in Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle on final day of Festival
David Metcalf | March 16, 2016
Childrens List can strike for Mullins in Martin Pipe
Irish trainer Willie Mullins has a tremendous record in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, and Childrens List looks to hold leading claims of further enhancing it with victory in this year’s renewal of the 2m contest at the Cheltenham Festival (16:50).
The County Carlow handler has won three of the seven runnings, including the last two with Don Poli and Killultagh Vic.
In Childrens List, Mullins has a gelding that had some useful form in bumpers and has gone on to win two of his nine starts over hurdles.
The six-year-old has also run well to make the frame on four occasions, including when a solid fourth of 14 behind Prince of Scars in a competitive contest at Navan when staying on strongly to be nearest at the finish and beaten just over four lengths.
Form of Navan and Leopardstown runs looks strong
Princes of Scars has since gone on to land the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown and that gives the form a very strong look.
Childrens List also ran well last time out when a 1/2 length second to Golan Lodge in a 12-runner affair at Leopardstown, and Not For Burning who finished eight lengths behind him in third has won since to give the form a boost.
Although the son of Presenting now has to run off a career-high rating of 139, that should not be beyond Childrens List and he looks the type who has more to offer.
Qualando primed to run a big race
Qualando enjoyed his finest hour when winning the Fred Winter at this meeting 12 months ago and looks to have been laid out for the race by trainer Paul Nicholls.
The five-year-old faied to shine in three runs after that success, but returned to form when runner-up last time out in testing conditions at Taunton.
That was a huge step back in the right direction on unsuitable ground, and Qualando will relish the quicker going.
Although now 8lb higher in the weights than when winning the Fred Winter, jockey Harry Cobden takes off 3lb with his claim and that should enable Qualando to be very competitive at a track which clearly suits.
Squouateur a big player
Another big player is the progressive Squouateur. Trained in Ireland by Gordon Elliott, the JP McManus owned gelding has won three of his five starts over the obstacles.
In the last of those at Fairyhouse, Squouateur travelled strongly throughout and showed a smart turn of foot to win by 1 3/4 lengths.
The five-year-old was value for much more than the winning margin and hails from a yard which has already tasted success at the meeting and whose runners in handicaps always command the utmost respect.
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Coral’s top tip: Childrens List looks worth a wager to land a hat-trick of successes in the race for trainer Willie Mullins.