Next up in Russell Smith's series on the UK and Ireland's leading National Hunt trainers, he reflects on the career of David Pipe...
"Now in his tenth season with a full licence at Pond House, Pipe is fast approaching 1,000 career winners, which include the 2008 Grand National with Comply Or Die and 13 Cheltenham Festival successes."
If ever someone was destined to be a top trainer then it's David Pipe.
Being the son of 15-times champion jumps trainer Martin Pipe, it was almost inevitable that his career path would follow in the footsteps of his record-breaking father.
And that's how it's turned out with Pipe jnr stepping seamlessly into his shoes. Of course, he did have the advantage of inheriting a top string of horses from his father at their Nicolshayne base, near Wellington in Somerset.
But the 43-year-old also made sure he was ready for the transition by gaining a thorough grounding, travelling around the world to learn his trade.
Now in his tenth season with a full licence at Pond House, Pipe is fast approaching 1,000 career winners, which include the 2008 Grand National with Comply Or Die and 13 Cheltenham Festival successes.
His most prestigious triumphs at Prestbury Park have come in the Ryanair Chase with Our Vic in 2008 and Dynaste two years ago, while Western Warhorse took the 2014 Arkle Trophy.
But he has also carried on the Pipe tradition of plotting a horse up for a Festival handicap, with the likes of Buena Vista, who won back-to-back Pertemps Finals in 2010 and 2011.
This time it's Doctor Harper who has got the bookmakers' alarm bells ringing as the eight-year-old shot to the head of the betting for the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase and the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase following an easy Leicester win.
Educated at Kings College, Taunton, Pipe started out riding in point-to-points in 1992, recording 22 wins, plus two under National Hunt Rules, including the Ludlow Gold Cup aboard Bonanza Boy.
After finishing riding, as well as working with his father, he had spells with Michael Dickinson in the United States, Criquette Head-Maarek in France and Joey Ramsden in South Africa.
Returning to England, he set up as a point-to-point trainer at Purchas Farm, a mile away from the family's yard, and saddled 164 winners over six seasons.
With Pipe snr retiring in April 2006 season, David took over the reins at Pond House.
And his first runner, Standin Obligation, won at Kelso the following month under Timmy Murphy, sparking an across-the-card treble on the day with Wee Dinns also scoring at the Scottish track, while Papillon De Iena triumphed at Exeter.
Pipe went on to become the first trainer to saddle a century of winners in his debut season with a superb tally of 134 - more than any other handler - and prize-money of £1.6m, which put him third in the championship.
The campaign also featured his first Cheltenham Festival winner with Gaspara taking the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices' Handicap Hurdle in his father's colours, picking up a £75,000 bonus in the process as the filly followed up her Imperial Cup victory at Sandown three days earlier.
Pipe scaled even greater heights in his second season, though, thanks to Comply Or Die's Grand National win with Murphy aboard, and that big pot helped him garner £2.45million for second place in the trainers' table.
The winners have continued to flow with Madison Du Berlais springing a 25/1 surprise in the 2008 Hennessy Gold Cup under stable jockey Tom Scudamore, while another of his standard bearers was top two-mile chaser Well Chief.
Junior pulled off the notable feat of following up his 2010 Ascot Stakes success at the Royal meeting by taking the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase a year later at Prestbury Park.
With Pond House's proud history, Pipe's Festival runners will certainly be worth a second look next month.
Check out the rest of the series of trainer profiles