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End of road for Champion Hurdle hero Make A Stand; Pipe star who took jumping world by storm in '97 retired.

Byline: Matt Chapman

MAKE A STAND, the modest Flat racer whose staggering progress over jumps during the 1996/97 campaign culminated in Smurfit Champion Hurdle glory, has been retired, writes Matt Chapman.

Revealing the news yesterday, trainer Martin Pipe told the Racing Post: "It has been decided to retire Make A Stand-he just seems to have lost his enthusiasm. He's still only ten, and he looks wonderful. He's in a box next to Miinnehoma, our Grand National hero, who's now 18."

Make A Stand was part-owned by Pipe and Peter Deal, and the gelding's rise to the top was a rags-to-riches tale. Deal yesterday described the chestnut as the "horse of a lifetime".

Before Pipe claimed him for pounds 8,000, Make A Stand was trained on the Flat by Henry Candy, for whom he landed three races, including a decent nursery at Newmarket in October 1993.

Deal said: "I owned him in a syndicate, and when Martin claimed him he asked me if I wanted to stay in, and I did. I owned half, and Martin the other half."

Make A Stand showed useful form in novice hurdles, but it was in the 1996/97 season that he blossomed. His electric jumping and front-running style left his rivals for dead.

He started off the campaign by winning a handicap at Stratford off a mark of 117, then was beaten at Uttoxeter and Cheltenham before landing the William Hill Handicap Hurdle at Sandown, when rated 127. Victories followed at Ascot and Kempton, in a Grade 2 novice contest and the Lanzarote Hurdle respectively.

Then, rated 140, Make A Stand slammed stablemate Hamilton Silk in the Tote Gold Trophy at Newbury, before galloping his rivals ragged in the Champion itself under Tony McCoy, beating Theatreworld by five lengths. He was given a mark of 165 for that success.

Make A Stand only ran twice more after that, but effectively his career ended when he finished third and lame behind Bimsey in the 1997 Martell Aintree Hurdle. His final outing came in last year's Champion Hurdle, in which he was 11th behind Istabraq.

Pipe said: "When I watched the 1997 Champion Hurdle, I was sure he'd stop up the hill. I shouted `he's beat, he's beat, he'll stop'. But he didn't. He must have been a good thing in those handicaps!"

Deal added: "Make A Stand gave me and my family a most fantastic time and I can't thank the horse enough or those who looked after him. I always had faith in the horse, and I just loved his style of racing. He was so enthusiastic and was a natural over hurdles from day one.

"He's not unsound now, and he will

have a lovely retirement."

Make A Stand ran 13 times over jumps, winning on nine occasions. In his career he earned more than pounds 290,000 in prize-money.

CAPTION(S):

Martin Pipe - ``He's lost his enthusiasm'': Make A Stand and a jubilant Tony McCoy take the Champion Hurdle in 1997
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 16, 2001
Words:501
Previous Article:All our yesterdays.
Next Article:Letters: Not a pretty sight; RP Thorburn believes horses slogging around in the mud could put fans off racing.


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