Martin and Mullins eye Cesarewitch double

Bryan Cooper returns in €200,000 Munster National after recovery from broken leg

Steven Clements aboard Quick Jack on his way to winning the Connacht Hotel Handicap at this year’s Galway Festival in Ballybrit. Photograph: Inpho.

Steven Clements aboard Quick Jack on his way to winning the Connacht Hotel Handicap at this year’s Galway Festival in Ballybrit. Photograph: Inpho.

 

Tomorrow’s €200,000 Ladbrokes Munster National card at Limerick – featuring the return to action of leading jockey Bryan Cooper – is another sign of the jumping game slowly cranking back into top gear. But two of its top trainers also have a potentially remarkable Cesarewitch double in their sights this weekend.

Tony Martin’s Quick Jack continues to dominate the betting for today’s Betfred Cesarewitch and the favourite is joined in that historic Newmarket marathon by Willie Mullins’s Digeanta. In tomorrow’s €100,000 Irish version at the Curragh both trainers top early betting lists with Mullins aiming the exciting and unexposed Clondaw Warrior at a race that also features Martin’s stalwart performer, Ted Veale.

Martin knows precisely what it takes to land the Newmarket race having scored with Leg Spinner in 2007 and has been targeting the English Cesarewitch ever since Quick Jack landed the big amateur riders event at Galway in July.

“We lined him up [for Galway] after he ran well in the Pierse Hurdle at Leopardstown and we were happy it worked so well,” said Martin. “I said . . . we’d try to pick a race that was suitable.”

Bookmakers have taken the hint and are taking no chances with Quick Jack who will be ridden by British champion jockey Richard Hughes.

Clondaw Warrior is comparatively unexposed in flat-race terms alongside Quick Jack, and indeed Ted Veale, but bookmakers are aware of the rapid improvement he has made since moving to the Mullins yard. Just a couple of months ago he trotted up off a mark of just 52 at Tramore, has since won again off 74 at Galway and even a 13lb hike on that is unlikely to reassure layers tomorrow.

A 21-strong Curragh field includes four cross-channel raiders, as well as the ex-Barney Curley trained Eye Of The Tiger, part of a famous gamble last January when trained by Des Donovan, and now having a third start for Johnny Murtagh.

Dermot Weld runs

Hidden Universe and Grecian Tiger and perhaps today’s action will show how the latter was attempting a mammoth task in trying to fend off Quick Jack at Galway during the summer. Forecast drying conditions over the weekend can only help Leigh Roche’s mount.

The same comment can apply to Together Forever who took her time getting off the mark but can confirm her upward curve by landing the Listed Staffordstown Stud Stakes.

Beaten on three occasions, Aidan O’Brien’s filly made no mistake at Gowran last time, overcoming a bad draw to win a maiden by five lengths. It’s only three years since Homecoming Queen took eight attempts before breaking her maiden, then landed tomorrow’s contest, before ultimately winning the Guineas the following year.

Viztoria hasn’t been helped by dry ground and it may not be ideal for the former Group Two winner in the Waterford Testimonial Stakes. In contrast, six furlongs and decent going could be right for Jim Bolger’s 103 rated maiden, Flight Risk. His stable companion Altesse may also be the value off a low weight in the Finale Stakes.

Shanpallas can secure a Munster National win in his first run for JP McManus at Limerick while Hash Brown can land the Grade Three novice hurdle.

Punters are presented with a quandary for Bryan Cooper’s comeback. Seven months after breaking his leg in a fall from Clarcam

at Cheltenham, Cooper passes over that runner, and The Plan Man, in favour of the double-Grade One winner Guitar Pete in the opening four-year-old hurdle.

A strict reading of conditions though gives Clarcam a chance of reversing that Liverpool form last April with Guitar Pete.

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