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Taunton Preview: Treble chance for in-form Pipe

Trainer David Pipe has his team in terrific shape and looks to hold solid claims of bagging a treble on today’s card at Taunton.

The Pond House handler has been successful with five of his last 10 runners, and the progressive Herbert Park is going to be very tough to beat in the 2m 3f novices’ hurdle (2.30).

This five-year-old opened his account at the second time of asking when landing a bumper at Chepstow in good style, and showed a willing attitude to make a winning debut over hurdles at Exeter last time out when beating Qualando in a 2m 1f contest.

Herbert Park stayed on tenaciously in the latter to score by a short-head, and the runner-up and fourth home Its A Long Road have both come out and won since to give the form a solid look.

The step up in trip looks sure to suit judged on the manner of that success, and with the further improvement assured this looks a gilt-edged opportunity for Herbert Park to follow-up.

Alternatif looked one to keep onside when making a winning debut for Pipe at Kempton back in December, and can make light of a 9lb rise in the weights to land the 2m 4f handicap hurdle (3.30).

The ex-French trained gelding made virtually all and dug deep to beat Thienval by a neck, with the pair pulling 12 lengths clear of the third.

It was a very taking effort considering it was Alternatif’s first run for 168 days, and the five-year-old’s current mark of 132 looks exploitable, given that he had had some useful form to his name in France and remains open to stacks more improvement.

Northern Bay represents Pipe in the 3m 1f handicap hurdle (4.40), and looks a bit of value to foil the hat-trick bid of red-hot favourite Creswell Breeze.

The five-year-old has yet to win in seven starts over the obstacles, but ran well to be placed on three occasions and often shaped better than the bare result indicates.

This gelding is now 1lb lower than when staying on well to finish a three length runner-up to Delta Sun on his handicap debut at Newton Abbot over 2m 3f, and is interestingly now being stepped up markedly in trip.

Pipe has been very successful when adopting such tactics with similar types, and Northern Bay also gets the services of promising young rider Michael Heard in the saddle, whose claim takes an invaluable 7lb off his back.

Selections:
2.00: Lord Navits
2.30: Herbert Park (NAP)
3.00: Crookstown
3.30: Alternatif (NB)
4.05: Chosen Milan
4.40: Northern Bay
5.10: Look For Love