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Racing: Pipe's clean sweep led home by Run For Free.


Martin Pipe

1-2-3-4 in 1992 Welsh National

What made it great

For so long the dominant force in jump racing, Martin Pipe specialises in making the extraordinary seem almost everyday. From the very top to the very bottom, it all seemingly comes alike to the multiple champion, who could probably have appeared any number of times in this countdown. Pipe's finest hour probably came in the Chepstow marathon he virtually owned in the early 1990s, when he won the race five times in six seasons. His great rival Paul Nicholls was rightly lauded for saddling the first three home last year. Pipe went one better 13 years previously with this staggering feat, saddling four runners - Run For Free, Riverside Boy, Miinnehoma and Bonanza Boy - to finish 1-2-3-4 in one of the biggest races of the jumps season. It was an achievement to rank alongside the greatest in racing history. NG


Josh Gifford

Aldaniti,1981 Grand National

What made it great

Everyone knows the tale of Bob Champion and Aldaniti, the pair of crocks who thwarted the death angel to triumph in arguably the most emotional Grand National of all. But fairytales generally hide the hard work behind the scenes, and Josh Gifford performed heroics with Aldaniti. He had a tendon strain in February 1976 and was off the track for a year' sustained bone chips in a leg in November 1977, 13 months off' strained a tendon impossibly badly in November 1979, 15 months on the sidelines. Quits were not called. Aldaniti returned to Gifford's yard in December 1980 and the trainer rode him in all his work, nursing him back to the racecourse and success on his reappearance at Ascot the following

February. Gifford then produced him fit and sound for the big day two months later, when the fairy-tale came true. SD


Michael Dickinson

Twelve winners on Boxing Day programme 1982

What made it great

Wayward Lad, Delius, Marnik, Thornacre, W Six Times, Fearless Imp, Londolozi, Jaski, Happy Voyage, Brunton Park, Prominent Artist and Slieve Bracken - what do those 12 horses have in common? They were all trained by Michael Dickinson, and they all won races on Monday, December 27, 1982. By the end of the 1982/83 season Dickinson had entered the training stratosphere, taking the trainers' title with a record winners total (120) and record prize-money (pounds 358,837). But it was Dickinson's Dozen - a world training record - in the 1982 Christmas holiday that posted early notice of his phenomenal season. The winners' roster spread across six meetings, making the whole operation a work of administrative genius in itself -and only a party pooper would add that on the same day nine other Dickinson runners failed to win. SM


Bob Johnson

Beeswing, 1842 Gold Cup

What made it great

The pride of the North, Beeswing was one of the greatest racemares of the 19th century, but it still needed an outstanding feat of training by Middleham-based Bob Johnson to enable her to score her biggest victory, in the 1842 Ascot Gold Cup, because by that time she was nine years old. The veteran had never before ventured as far south as Ascot, but a losing effort in the Gold (now Queen's) Vase primed her perfectly for the Gold Cup two days later, and after leading for most of the way she triumphed by half a length. In her two remaining races, Beeswing scored her sixth victory in the Newcastle Gold Cup and her fourth in the Doncaster Cup. JR


Tom Parr

Fisherman's 23 wins in one season (1856)

What made it great

Fisherman set the record for the most wins in a British season when scoring 23 times as a three-year-old in 1856. His owner-trainer, Tom Parr of Wantage, was unrivalled at keeping horses fresh and sweet during prolific winning campaigns, and he ran 34 times between February and October. Many of his races were uncompetitive, but he landed the Gold (now Queen's) Vase at Royal Ascot and won at distances from four furlongs to three miles' among his victims were the winners of that season's Derby, Oaks and St Leger. Parr also won 22 races with Fisherman in 1857 and 21 in 1858, and developed his supremely tough colt into a multiple champion who won the Ascot Gold Cup twice. JR


Noel Murless

Twilight Alley, 1963 Gold Cup

What made it great

No horse expressed Noel Murless's skills more eloquently than Twilight Alley. Half-brother to the delicate Crepello, whom Murless had trained to win the 1957 2,000 Guineas and Derby, Twilight Alley was too immature to race as a juvenile and ran only once at three, winning at Ascot in July 1962. A very large-framed colt with suspect forelegs, he was always going to be difficult to keep sound, and diagnosis of a heart murmur after his debut made matters worse. Murless put him away for the season to strengthen up, with the 1963 Gold Cup the big target. Twilight Alley ran second in the Henry II Stakes before avirtuoso front-running Lester Piggott ride saw him win the Royal Ascot showpiece on only the third outing of his life. He started favourite for the King George but broke down in the straight and was retired to stud. SM


Henry Cecil

Oh So Sharp, 1985 fillies' Triple Crown

What made it great

Nijinsky was the last colt to complete the Triple Crown in 1970' Oh So Sharp took the fillies' version 15 years later and they may both be the last of their lines. It takes exceptional skill to nurse any horse through a campaign at the top level, let alone one who has been asked to run for her life in April and to match that level of performance in September. Cecil led his brilliant filly along a path that brought victory in the closest finish ever to a British Classic in the 1,000 Guineas and success by six lengths in the Oaks from the mighty Triptych. Defeat in the King George and Benson & Hedges Gold Cup left her with questions to answer, but Cecil restored her to a peak in the St Leger in which, under a gentle ride from Steve Cauthen, she mastered colts for the first time and carved her name in turf history. SD


Vincent O'Brien

1944 Irish Autumn Double

What made it great

In his very first season as a public trainer, 27-year-old Vincent O'Brien, then based at Churchtown, gave notice of his supreme talent by bringing off the Irish Autumn Double in 1944 with two 20-1 shots. In the Irish Cambridgeshire at The Curragh, Drybob got up on the line to force a dead-heat, with stablemate Good Days unplaced in a field of 26' and in the Irish Cesarewitch at Phoenix Park a month later. Good Days defied 9st by a neck, with Drybob fourth of the 30 runners, to complete a stunning feat for such an inexperienced trainer. O'Brien's racing empire was based on shrewd betting and this coup, at ante-post odds of 800-1, is where it started. JR


Dick Hern

Brigadier Gerard, 1971 2,000 Guineas

What made it great

The highest peak in the mountain range that was Dick Hern's training career must surely be his handling of Brigadier Gerard, who raced at the top level for three seasons and posted a career total of 17 wins from 18 races. Physically magnificent but temperamentally fragile - he became so lazy that he would pull up once he spotted Hern on the gallops - the Brigadier needed very careful nurturing, but remained remarkably sound throughout his career. While himself a brilliant two-year-old, his contemporaries Mill Reef and My Swallow were officially rated superior, and to take on that exceptional pair in the 1971 2,000 Guineas without a previous run was a very bold move. The evening before the race, owner John Hislop told Dick Hern that he had never seen a horse better trained - aview vindicated when Brigadier Gerard surged down the Rowley Mile to win by three lengths from Mill Reef, who was never beaten again. SM


Clive Brittain

Bold Arrangement, runner-up 1986 Kentucky Derby

What made it great

Bold Arrangement was well named. Clive Brittain's propensity for attempting the unlikely has been well documented elsewhere, but he excelled himself when aiming Bold Arrangement at the Kentucky Derby, the first British-trained colt to run in the race. Brittain left little to chance in the preparation, training the colt on a gallop made of crushed eggshells to simulate the US dirt surface and then flying him to Keeneland for the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes to familiarise him with competition on dirt. Bold Arrangement took to the new game immediately, finishing third in the Blue Grass, and Brittain's great gamble looked like paying dividends when he led early in the stretch at Churchill Downs. If he had held

on, Brittain would surely have taken much higher order in this series, but Ferdinand swept by in the closing stages to puncture the dream. SD
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 3, 2006
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