Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pipe's Longshot Can Pay off; Copeland Is the Value Bet at 28-1

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pipe's Longshot Can Pay off; Copeland Is the Value Bet at 28-1

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAHAM CUNNINGHAM

ONE of them has dominated the trainers' championship for well over a decade and the other wants to take it off him so badly it almost hurts.

Make no mistake, Martin Pipe and Paul Nicholls are the heavyweights of the jumping game at present, and the perennial titleholder can land the latest blow in an absorbing battle when Copeland lines up for the ladbrokes.com Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown.

In some ways, it isn't hard to see why this gelding has hardly rated a mention in the build-up to tomorrow's [pounds sterling]100,000 contest.

The betting public tend to gravitate towards unexposed horses in big handicaps nowadays, and there are plenty of potential improvers in this line-up.

First among them is the Nichollstrained Monte Cinto, who hid his light under a bushel with a string of uninspiring efforts last season but has thrived since making the switch to handicaps and completed a hattrick with a decisive defeat of Winsley in a valuable contest here last month.

Monte Cinto travelled like a dream under Ruby Walsh that day and looks a big danger to all again despite the fact that the handicapper has hiked him 11lb in the weights for his latest success.

The Pipe-trained Escompteur is another improving youngster who could be on an attractive mark, while King Revo and the globetrotting Zabenz are also entitled to show up boldly after finishing first and fourth in a useful handicap at Cheltenham.

Idole First and last year's winner Thesis provide Venetia Williams with a strong hand in one of the toughest handicaps seen this season, but Copeland appeals as the eachway value to show his younger rivals the way home.

Admittedly, the clock is ticking now this battle hardened gelding has turned 10 years of age. That said, a glance through his record suggests Copeland has a much better chance than his long odds would suggest.

Yes, it's a long time since he ran away from Roster Booster the Tote Gold Trophy at Newbury in 2002 and even longer since he got the better of a memorable battle with his stablemate Rodock in the William Hill Hurdle here in 1999. …

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