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Pipe anticipating more from talented Cheveley Park-owned Ekayburg

David Pipe: "Ekayburg is a horse we've always liked"
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David and Patricia Thompson of Cheveley Park Stud have greatly bolstered their jumps interest this season and, although Ekayburg may be one of their lesser-known recruits to the sphere, the five-year-old has always been held in high regard by trainer David Pipe.

Mooted as a dark horse to follow by Pipe at the start of the season, the dual French bumper winner is yet to win in two starts for the yard and makes his handicap debut off a mark of 112 in the 2m½f handicap (3.40) at Stratford.  

"He's a horse we've always liked," said Pipe. "He ran well at Chepstow on his first start but disappointed at Leicester on fast ground. His mark looks fair for what he's achieved."

Ekayburg also arrives at the Warwickshire track after breathing surgery, which Pipe hopes will spark the five-year-old into life for the rest of the campaign.

He added: "He's had a wind op, which we hope will help enhance his claims. I think two miles around Stratford will suit and he has a nice weight."

Greatrex hoping for sweet Honey success

As a half-sister to and representing the same connections of the gifted 152-rated hurdler Western Ryder, Miss Honey Ryder was always destined to carry a weight of expectation.  

The Warren Greatrex-trained mare initially held an entry for Saturday's valuable EBF Stallions TBA Mares' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race at Sandown, but connections opted instead for a softer target in the 2m½f mares' bumper (5.40) at Taunton, before a potential outing at the Aintree festival.

Warren Greatrex: "I'd like to think Miss Honey Ryder has the beating of those with experience"

Greatrex said: "I was a bit disappointed with her last year but she has been far better this season, notably strong at the finish in both starts.

"We were thinking about running her on Saturday at Sandown but we thought we'd like to get another win into her before targeting the Aintree mares' bumper.

"You never know what's lurking among the unraced opposition but I'd like to think she has the beating of those with experience."

Miss Honey Ryder will have to give 7lb to her 11 rivals but has a course-and-distance victory at the track last time, and her penalty is negated by the 5lb claim of conditional rider Harry Teal, who maintains the partnership.

Potential clues at Stratford

The Racing Post Arkle-bound Clondaw Castle has come a long way since winning the 2m½f bumper (4.40) on this card at Stratford two years ago, and notebooks should be at the ready for any such future stars this year.

The Paul Nicholls yard is firing going into the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday and Starsky, who was second to Now Look At Me on his sole start in November, heads the 11-strong field.

That form has been franked since with the winner landing a Doncaster bumper and finding only the classy Flic Ou Voyou too strong at Wincanton in December.

The Emma Lavelle-trained Shang Tang is another who has shown promise in two bumper starts, while Cavernous from the Ben Pauling stable returns for the first time since finishing sixth to Didtheyleaveuoutto in November 2017.  

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He's had a wind op which we hope will help enhance his claims. I think two miles around Stratford will suit and he has a nice weight
E.W. Terms