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Bookies floored by Pipe's hurricane.

Call it Festival madness if you like, but I must be delirious. Somebody call a doctor.

Yesterday Blowing Wind finished like a tornado under top weight to win the Imperial Cup on a tight reign.

It looked a stunning performance - I was stone cold sober, honest.

It was certainly a lovely sight if you've backed Dato Star for Tuesday's Champion Hurdle because Blowing Wind was whipped 21 lengths by Malcolm Jefferson's star at Haydock.

It was just an excuse, you might think, for Ladbrokes to cut Dato Star's odds.

But, low and behold, the Magic Sign have knocked him out a point 7-1.

Generosity is not a word you usually associate with Ladbrokes - somebody will be getting their jotters tomorrow morning.

Martin Pipe has a nose for the pounds 50,000 bonus put up for winning the Imperial Cup and a race at Cheltenham.

Remember Olympian?

Mind you, we might have known Blowing Wind was a breeze.

After all, it was mad McCririck's "Lay of the Day"- a horse that couldn't win.

Big Mac was forced to eat humble pie and kissed Pipe's feet in the winner's enclosure - as he had vowed to do on the Morning Line.

The big race was a tasty hors d'oeuvres for this week's Cheltenham bean feast.

In the Gloucestershire hotels and pubs we'll be spinning yarns, telling tales of derring do, trading stories of coups and defeats. It'll be horses, horses and more horses.

If Pamela Anderson chapped the door at eight in the morning wrapped only in a Sporting Life, the first question would be: "So hen, whit does Man In The Spot fancy in the Gold Cup?"

It's a hoot, but you've got to get yourself organised to cash in on the early prices.

There are some super offers if you shop around.

I notice Stanley Racing are offering a quarter the odds every race, and you can bet a fifth the odds the first four home in the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup with Surrey Racing.

Most of the independents will be quoting special terms and I hope to see the big boys doing punters a real turn as well.

Unbelievably, in Cheltenham week of all weeks, Hills are launching a new Magic Numbers bet.

From 10.30 today there will be a draw every 10 minutes!

What's it all coming to - they'll have a bingo-caller in before long.

You'll all have your own ideas of the big race winners but Florida Pearl and Paddy's Return look good. And I've finally nailed my Festival Bumper winner, Joe Mac, which was one of three on my short-list at the turn of the year.

Okay, it's not a 6-1 shot like last year's beauty Florida Pearl - more like half those odds - but I'm assured it'll take all the beating.

Our troops will be pulling out at High Noon tomorrow aboard Richard Branson's wagon train - Virgin Soldiers to a man!

By the way, while I'm on this regimental theme, that bampot Captain Ward Thomas deserved the firing squad for his effort on favourite Sursum Corda at Sandown yesterday.

He must have made up 30 lengths from the home turn and was beaten only half a length.

No wonder the Sandown stewards fined him. Lock him in the guardhouse, I say.

If you're a Festival rookie take a tip from an Old Contemptible.

Make sure you get a good night's kip - the only bed you're likely to see this week is the flowerbed outside the Queen's Hotel.

And I hope your liver has had a wee holiday. Caterers Letheby and Christopher tell me they expect to sell 14,000 bottles of champagne and 50,000 bottles of beer - I don't know what the rest of you will be drinking. . .

Remember, Elegant Lord won't be a fancy price in the Foxhunters (about 6-4 if we're lucky) but it'll cover the bar bill. Cheers.

SHAWFIELD: 1st Greenmount Cheif (3) 6-1, Miss Big Wig (5) 9-4, pounds 20.99, 2nd Barefoot Jamie (3) 5-2, Coolbane Sandy (2) 4-1, pounds 12.31, 3rd Sams Sister (5) 3-1, Itsallovergirl (1) 6-4, pounds 7.44, 4th Knuckles Mendoza (3) 4-1, Final Satellite (4) 5-1, pounds 22.74, 5th Last Light (1) evens fav, Leitrim Slippy (3) 4-1, pounds 4.85. 6th Try the Hustle (5) 3-1, Just Then (2) 5-1, pounds 17.39, 7th Ridgedale Mega (2) 4-1, Sallagh Bluey (1) evens, pounds 7.90, 8th Monas Deal (2) 5-2, Hinch Mac (5) 6-4, pounds 6.25, 9th White Angie (5) 3-1, Clune Prince (4) 7-2, pounds 13.20, 10th Shanagana Lodger (3) 5-2, fav, Never Wished (4) 3-1, pounds 9.92; 11th Express Trend (3) 3-1, Tartan Ally (1) 2-1, pounds 8.90, 12th Twilight Day (3) 3-1, All that Glitter (5) 5-2, pounds 10.35.

HAWICK: 1st - Crocodile Dundee (1) 2-1, 17.16; Goggs (5) 4-6 fav, 16.38; Blue One (2) 4-6 fav, 16.89; Brook (3) 2-1, 16.70; Bobby's Girl (4) evens fav, 6.07; Reaper (4) 1-2 fav, 26.80; The Badger (5) 4-5 fav, 16.37; Rachael's Girl (4) 1-2, 16.60; Burnside (1) 7-4, 16.55.

AUCHINLECK: 1st - Dumpling (2) 2-1, 15.00; Dalespark (3) 2-1, 24.90; Stealth (6) 5-2, 14.90; Goldberg (2) evens fav, 25.10; Dakota (6) evens fav, 14.80; non runner Shelf; K9 (5) 2-1, 14.80, non runner Jetta; Ensign (5) evens fav, 14.90; JW (3) 4-6 fav, 14.75; Sammy (5) 4-5 fav, 14.70; Grampian (6) 3-1, 24.90.

WISHAW: 1st Hiker (1) 2-1, 17.00, 2nd Scar (3) even fav 16.90, 3rd JC (1) 5-4, 16.96, 4th Sweet (6) 5-2, 16.74, 5th void, 6th Wee Mary (1) 3- 1, 16.69, 7th Noddy (3) 6-4 fav, 16.58, 8th My Way (6) 4-1, 16.94, 9th Herself (4) 3-1, 16.62, 10th Pride (2), 5-2, 28.29, 11th Flute (2) even fav 28.08, 12th Derry (6) 2-1, 28.35, 13th Smoky (5) 2-1, 27.84, 14th Amy (4) 501, 28.17.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Punter, Joe
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 15, 1998
Previous Article:I'll be too fly for lucky Thomas!; Boxing.
Next Article:SPORTSFILE; Gritty Nicol now looks Linvincible.

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