Pipes delighted with Imperial Cup win

The Pipe family continued their monopoly of the Sunderlands Imperial Cup at Sandown as Ashkazar made all the running under Timmy Murphy.

The Pipe family continued their monopoly of the Sunderlands Imperial Cup at Sandown as Ashkazar made all the running under Timmy Murphy.

David Pipe’s father Martin had a fantastic record in the race and after Gaspara’s win 12 months ago, the younger Pipe has now won back-to-back renewals.

The four-year-old, sent off the 100-30 favourite, now has the chance to win a huge bonus put up by the sponsors – also won by Gaspara last year – if he can win at next week’s Cheltenham Festival, for which he has three options.

Carl Llewellyn’s Fredensborg made late headway to steal second but he was three and a half lengths down.

Albinus finished third with Victram, the winner two year’s ago, fourth.

Murphy told Channel 4 Racing: "He was very impressive. I thought there would be more pace, it wasn't really the plan to make the running.

“He is talented and is learning all the time. He’s really coming to himself now. He is clever and only does what you ask him to do. I was very pleased with him.”

Pipe added: “Nothing wanted to go on and the plan was to be handy, so Timmy has taken the initiative and give him a great ride.

“He jumped, travelled and quickened. Timmy asked him for a big one at the last and he jumped it superbly.

“He was a very good horse on the Flat and he’s not bad over hurdles. We’ll see how he is before we make a decision about Cheltenham, we have to make sure he’s right because he is a horse for the future.

“He’s in three, but I’d say it would be the Fred Winter or the Triumph Hurdle. David Johnson (owner) couldn’t be here unfortunately, he had to be at a wedding but he has already been on the phone. We'll have a chat and decide where he goes.”

VC Bet make Ashkazar their 3-1 favourite (from 7s) for the Fred Winter and he is 6-1 (from 10s) for the Triumph.

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