1. Carvill’s Hill (Timeform rating 182)
Carvill’s Hill was trained in Ireland by Jim Dreaper up until 1991, where he was prolific over hurdles and fences, before joining Martin Pipe.
Carvill’s Hill started the 7/4 favourite on his debut for Pipe and duly won the Rehearsal Chase at Chepstow by 10 lengths from stablemate Aquilifer. He led on the approach to two out, where he pecked on landing, but he stamped his class on the race by staying on strongly in the closing stages.
Carvill’s Hill put up a career-best performance back at Chepstow on his next start in the Welsh Grand National, starting the 9/4 favourite and relishing the longer trip. Given a positive ride by Peter Scudamore, Carvill’s Hill was soon clear of his rivals and won unchallenged by 20 lengths, putting up the best performance in the race’s history.
Further success followed in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown on his next start, again doing it very easily to win by 15 lengths. Carvill’s Hill looked better than ever under Pipe’s care and started the even-money favourite for the 1992 Cheltenham Gold Cup. However, Carvill’s Hill, who was harried in the lead, wasn’t in anything like the same form. He blundered at the first fence and made multiple mistakes thereafter, leading until the second-last where he made another error and was headed. Carvill’s Hill was subsequently found to have suffered pulled muscles in his chest and back and to have injured a tendon in his leg, and he was retired.
2. Deano’s Beeno (Timeform rating 175)
Deano’s Beeno was just fairly useful when trained by Mark Johnston on the Flat, but he took well to hurdling for Martin Pipe, developing into a top-class staying hurdler in his prime.
He was purchased for 24,000 guineas at the Autumn Sales, and made a winning start over hurdles in a novice at Newton Abbott, and he could have hardly been more impressive, sauntering to a 31-length success. Deano’s Beeno contested the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on his next start, but was unable to make an impact, off the bridle a long way from home up in grade.
Deano’s Beeno landed a gamble on handicap debut on his reappearance the following season, and didn’t need to improve to land the odds on his other two starts that season, winning with ease on each occasion. He went on to confirm himself a top-notch staying hurdler in 1998/99, finishing runner-up in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot, and winning a Grade 2 event at Haydock.
It was in the 2000/01 season that Deano’s Beeno put up his two best performances. He had his ideal conditions (went particularly well in testing ground) when winning a second Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on his return, scoring even more impressively than he had the year before. He was beaten by Baracouda in the Long Walk on his next start, but bounced back when successful in a Grade 2 event at Doncaster after, trouncing his rivals by 30 lengths.
Deano’s Beeno went on to win the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot as a 10-year-old in 2002/03, beating Baracouda, as well as another two Grade 2 events. He wasn’t always the easiest of rides, and his temperament came under suspicion in his later years. Nonetheless, he was one of the best staying hurdlers of his era.
3. Cyfor Malta (Timeform rating 173)
Cyfor Malta was another fantastic recruit from France for Martin Pipe, winning three of his four starts in 1997/98 season. He started at odds of 6/5-on for his British debut in a novice chase at Sandown and made a winning start with a bit in hand, though it wasn’t a faultless display, showing a tendency to jump left.
Cyfor Malta returned to Sandown on his next start when finishing second in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase, holding every chance going to three out, but ultimately outpaced on the quickest ground he had encountered. He quickly got back on the up at Cheltenham on his next start, landing the Cathcart, and was one of the easiest winners seen over the National fences at Aintree in the John Hughes Chase – when still just a five-year-old – on his final start that season.
Cyfor Malta only had two runs in 1998/99, but he won both of them in good style, putting up a very smart performance to win a handicap at Cheltenham from a mark of 150 before following up in the Pillar Property Chase at Cheltenham two months later, beating See More Business and Go Ballistic, who fought out the finish to that season’s Gold Cup that Cyfor Malta missed through injury.
Injuries plagued Cyfor Malta afterwards, and he was off the track for two years before returning in the Pillar, where he was well below form, looking fit beforehand but failing to deliver on the track. Another absence followed, but Cyfor Malta made a winning return in a handicap from a mark of 145 at Newbury in 2001/02, and enjoyed one more big success in the 2002 Thomas Pink Handicap Chase, producing a top-class effort to defy a mark of 154.
4. Rushing Wild (Timeform rating 172)
Rushing Wild was a big, powerful gelding, and a very impressive winner of the Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 1992, when with Richard Barber, starting at 9/1 and winning by 25 lengths, despite hitting the second-last.
Rushing Wild then started favourite for the Fox Hunters’ at Aintree, and was in third position when falling at three out after producing some untidy jumps earlier in the race. He finished the season by completing a simple task in another hunter at Chepstow later in April.
Rushing Wild progressed out of hunter chases the following season after joining Pipe and started in grand style, winning handicaps at Wincanton (easily by 12 lengths) and Sandown (Anthony Mildmay, Peter Cazalet Memorial). It was his performance in that season’s Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival that earned him his peak Timeform rating, though. Rushing Wild was beaten only two lengths by Jodami and pulled well clear of the remainder, confirming himself as a top-class chaser. Sadly he was fatally injured in the Irish Grand National.
4= Gloria Victis (Timeform rating 172)
Gloria Victis was lightly raced over jumps in France, and only had a handful of starts for Martin Pipe, but showed top-class form in Britain before tragically suffering a fatal fall in the 2000 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
He made a winning start for the Pipe yard in a maiden chase at Newbury in the 1999/2000 season, making all and jumping fluently in the main, winning by 14 lengths. Gloria Victis then ran a fine race just seven days later when upped in grade and dropped in trip in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown, faring best of those who helped force an overly strong pace.
Gloria Victis relished the step up to three miles on his next two starts, turning in a most polished round of jumping when winning the Feltham Novices’ Chase at Kempton by 18 lengths. He then put up a breathtaking display against a strong field of handicappers in the Racing Post Chase at Kempton, jumping superbly under 11-10 and sustaining a strong gallop to beat Marlborough by 10 lengths.
The six-year-old Gloria Victis had shown himself to be an exceptional novice in winning the Racing Post Chase at Kempton and he was tasked with becoming one of the youngest Cheltenham Gold Cup winners ever. However, he sadly suffered a fatal fall at the second-last when still in contention. His death robbed steeplechasing of an outstanding young horse.
6= Pridwell (Timeform rating 168)
Pridwell didn’t show much in three starts on the Flat for Roger Charlton, but he quickly developed into a smart juvenile hurdler for Martin Pipe in the 1993/94 season, winning five times in all, including on the all-weather. However, his best performance came when second in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, before finishing seventh in the Triumph just two days later.
Pridwell had a brief spell over fences in 1995/96, but reverted to hurdles after just three starts and finished third in the Champion Hurdle later that season, showing high-class form. However, he struggled for form in the following season, and could only finish seventh in the Champion Hurdle that time.
It was in 1997/98 that he achieved the most. He won the West Yorkshire Hurdle at Wetherby and the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton, recording a bloodless success in the latter event, never coming off the bridle to win by 13 lengths. Pridwell then completed a four-timer at Ascot with plenty in reserve. Later in the season Pridwell would finish fourth in the Champion Hurdle and cap a fine season with victory in the Aintree Hurdle, where he beat the legendary Istabraq, proving much more reliable than resolute than he had been on occasions.
6= Tiutchev (Timeform rating 168)
Tiutchev was a high-class novice chaser for Nicky Henderson in 1999/2000, notably winning the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival.
He joined Martin Pipe in the 2002/03 season as he was being aimed at the Grand Jump in Japan that season and Pipe had experience of aiming one at that race. He proved just about as good as ever on his first start for Pipe, finishing second in a handicap at Sandown from a mark of 164.
Tiutchev went on to land the Ascot Chase on his next start, winning the race for the second time in the past three years, and, given the style in which he won, connections decided to run in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham.
However, Tiutchev fell at the fifth at Cheltenham and beat only two rivals home in the Grand Jump in Japan on his final start that season.
Tiutchev finished runner-up in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown and the King George Chase at Kempton the following season before attempting to win a third Ascot Chase. He wasn’t in the same form, though, and would likely have finished fourth but for falling at the second-last. Tiutchev didn’t need to improve to win the Martell Cup at Aintree on his final start that season, but proved his effectiveness at three miles when conditions allowed it.
6= Beau Ranger (Timeform rating 168?)
Beau Ranger was a strong, compact gelding, who was a top-class front-running chaser at his best. He won numerous races, notably the Mackeson Gold Cup at Cheltenham, and was one of the first examples of Pipe significantly improving a seemingly-exposed horse.
Beau Ranger was usually a sound jumper, but was prone to the odd mistake, and recorded his last success in a two-runner event at Worcester in the 1988/89 season. He made a bad mistake at the third fence on that occasion, but had too much class for his sole rival and was just pushed out to win by five lengths. Beau Ranger finished third in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham on his next start, before hitting the frame in the Mildmay Chase at Aintree. He had also finished placed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1988.
9. Granville Again (Timeform rating 167)
Granville Again joined Martin Pipe at the start of the 1990/91 season and finished second on his debut in a novice hurdle at Chepstow. He would go on to win his next three starts before finishing second in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Granville Again closed the season with a win in the Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.
The following season Granville Again won all his completed starts, his only mishap coming in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, still having every chance when falling two out. He quickly but that misfortune behind him when an impressive winner of the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr under 11-10 on his final start that season.
Granville Again didn’t win on his first three starts in 1992/93, but he gained the best success of his career in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, making smooth headway three flights from home before taking up the running approaching the last. He recorded his highest Timeform rating on that occasion, in what would turn out to be his last win. Granville Again’s form afterwards was indifferent, reportedly suffering from heart problems before being retired.
10= Make A Stand (Timeform rating 165), Challenger du Luc (Timeform rating 165), Lady Cricket (Timeform rating 165)