Who is Martin Pipe?

Martin Pipe, who officially retired, due to poor health, in April, 2006, was a revolutionary, often controversial, trainer, who dominated British National Hunt racing from the late Eighties until the early Noughties. In fact, Pipe won the National Hunt Trainers’ Championship 15 times in all between 1988/89 and 2004/05, including ten seasons in a row between 1995/96 and 2004/05; indeed, he relinquished his reign as Champion trainer only briefly, to the late David Nicholson, in 1993/94 and 1994/95.

Based at Pond House, Nicholashayne, on the Devon-Somerset border, Pipe trained his first winner, Hit Parade, at Taunton in 1975 but, in his 30-year career, would amass a total of 4,180 winners, more than any other National Hunt trainer in history. He saddled 34 winners at the Cheltenham Festival including Granville Again and Make A Stand in the Champion Hurdle, in 1993 and 1997, respectively, and won the Grand National with Miinnehoma im 1994. Indeed, he trained over 200 winners in a season, including a then record 243 in 1999/2000, on eight occasions.

Pipe is credited with introducing training innovations such as blood tests, meticulous record-keeping, which allowed him to chronicle his horses’ health and interval training, all of which are commonplace in the modern training regime. His approach allowed him to boost the fitness of his horses more than any other trainer and he achieved much of his success with cheaply-bought ‘castoffs’ from other stables, which he often improved out of all recognition.

Which was the longest-priced winner of the Grand National?

The Grand National is often dubbed ‘the ultimate test for horse and rider’ and although the celebrated steeplechase has not – or, at least, not yet – thrown up the longest-priced winner in the history of British horse racing it has produced its fair share of ‘shock’ victories. All told, in 172 renewals, five winners of the Aintree marathon have been returned at treble-figure odds, all at 100/1, and collectively they share the distinction of being the longest-priced winner.

Granted that the five 100/1 chances represent less than 3% of Grand National winners, it would be reasonable to assume that they are few and far between. However, while the first 100/1 winner, Tipperary Tim did not pop up until 1928 – that is, the eighty-seventh renewal of the Grand National – he was followed in the very next year by the second, Gregalach. Another 19 years later, in 1947, in the first Grand National run on a Saturday, Eddie Dempsey steered Caughoo to a 20-length success and 20 years later still, in 1967, Foinavon became arguably the most famous, and fortuitous, Grand National winner of them all after avoiding a melee at the fence that now bears his name. Over four decades later, in 2009, Mon Mome completed the quintet of 100/1 winners, but there appeared no fluke about his 12-length victory over 2008 winner Comply Or Die.

How many Group One winners has Dane O’Neill ridden?

Born in Dublin, Ireland on August 1, 1975, Dane O’Neill graduated from the field of pony racing and, at the age of 17, moved to Britain, where he became apprenticed to Wiltshire trainer Richard Hannon Snr.. He rode his first winner, Port Sunlight, trained by Hannon Snr., in an apprentices’ handicap at Sandown on July 15, 1993, but did not reach double figures for a season until 1995, when he rode 33 winners. The following season, O’Neill rode a total of 80 winners, including Arethusa I in the Listed Sirenia Stakes at Kempton, and became Champion Apprentice.

O’Neill rode his first Group race winner, Lots Of Magic, in the Group Three Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 16, 1999 and his second, Bold Edge, in the Group Two Cork and Orrery Stakes – subsequently upgraded to Group One status and known, nowadays, as the Diamond Jubilee Stakes – the very next day; both horses were trained by Richard Hannon Snr.. In fact, the following August, Bold Edge provided O’Neill with his first Group One winner when making all to win the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville.

In 2002, following the retirement of Chris Rutter, O’Neill was recruited as stable jockey to Oxfordshire trainer Henry Candy. He continued to enjoy plenty of success, but would not ride his second Group One winner until 2015, by which time he had been appointed second jockey to Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, having replaced Tadhg O’Shea in October, 2012. The victory came courtesy of Muhaarar, trained by Charles Hills, who was reverting to sprinting following an unplaced effort in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains at Longchamp, but stromed clear to win the newly introduced Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

What types of bet are there in horse racing?

Horse racing offers a plethora of different types of bet, ranging from the simple to the fiercely complex. The simplest bet is a straight win single, where you place a bet on a horse to finish first in a race; if it does, you win and, if not, you lose. Slightly more complex is a win and place, or each-way, bet, where you place a bet on a horse either to win or to finish placed, according to the ‘place terms’ of the race in question. An each-way bet is effectively two bets in one, so requires double the stake of a straight win single. The place portion of the bet is paid out at a fraction of the win odds, typically 1/5 or 1/4, if your selection finishes in the first two, three or four places, depending on the type of race and the number of runners.

Of course, it is also possible to combine your selections in ‘multiple’ bets, such as doubles, trebles and accumulators, which require two, three or four or more to win or, at least, be placed, in the case of each-way multiple bets, to guarantee. Bookmakers offer a selection of multiple bets, which are known by names such as ‘Yankee’, ‘Canadian’, ‘Heinz’ and so on, depending on the number of selections and the total number of bets required to cover those selections. Other, slightly more exotic, horse racing bets include forecast and tricast betting, in which you attempt to predict the first two, or three, horses home in any race, in the correct order or any order.

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