David Pipe took Cheltenham by storm yesterday with a brilliant 5,995/1 four-timer, spearheaded by the success of Dell' Arca in the featured Greatwood Hurdle.
At an event his father Martin plundered so efficiently over the years, the Pond House stable got the afternoon under way in the perfect fashion, with a one-two in the opening conditional jockeys' hurdle led by 40/1 longshot Home Run.
The Liquidator (6/4) then looked destined for stardom when destroying his three rivals in the Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle, while the well-bred Red Sherlock (7/2 joint-favourite) rounded off a memorable occasion when retaining his unbeaten record in the bumper.
So many of the great Pipe days had been shared with late owner David Johnson, who had a race named in his memory on Friday, so it was poignant to see his old friend Timmy Murphy wearing the famous blue and green colours on Red Sherlock.
Pipe said: "I've to thank DJ, he bred him out of (great chasing mare) Lady Cricket and all his family are here today. I have to thank the Johnson family, the whole of Pond House has to. He would have really enjoyed that one and will be watching from up above. He's got some other ones out of Lady Cricket too, and they will be coming through shortly."
Expensive purchase Dell' Arca was something of an unknown quantity on paper, but having shown much promise in three hurdling starts in France, the 12/1 shot had captured the attention of buyers and Pipe had to persuade owner Professor Caroline Tisdall to part with €280,000 to get him.
There had been drama mid-race when Ahyaknowyerself, which was sharing the lead, came down at speed, bringing down Thomas Edison and leaving Rawnaq alone in front. Rawnaq was still involved after the final flight, getting squeezed up between Dell' Arca and Sametegal, which were only half a length apart at the post.
"He's still a novice and he's only won a handicap off 128 so we will enjoy today. I'm sure he'll get entries in all the big handicaps," said Pipe.
The Liquidator had been a Grade One bumper winner and he looks a serious hurdler after galloping 15 lengths away from favourite Sea Lord, which was on a seven-timer. Pipe said: "He's obviously a very good horse and he's quick enough for two miles. Knowing me, he'll have entries everywhere."
Gary Moore hoped Sire De Grugy might be capable of challenging Nicky Henderson's supreme chaser Sprinter Sacre but Henderson showed what strength he has as Kid Cassidy (4/1) wore down the 5/6 favourite on the run-in for the Shloer Chase.
Henderson said: "It's nice to see him win a good race because he does deserve one. His life hasn't exactly been overly kind to him in a lot ways. I think he will get further."
Paul Nicholls was finally off the mark at the meeting with Dodging Bullets (2/1), which took the the novice chase by five lengths.
FOLLOWERS of Richard Forristal's selections were in the money again this weekend.
On Saturday, our racing correspondent nominated Johns Spirit to win the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham and Jonjo O'Neill's charge duly delivered at 7/1. Forristal also advised the 20/1 third-placed Hidden Cyclone each-way.
At Punchestown on Saturday, the 12/1 winner Love Rory was one of four of his selections to collect, while 10/1 winner Presenting Beara was the highlight of five winners – including 9/4 nap Felix Yonger – advised at combined odds of 124/1 there yesterday.