Tony Martin targets Galway Hurdle with Thomas Edison and Quick Jack

Shrewd trainer’s Galway fortunes have improved dramatically in recent years

 Tony McCoy on board Thomas Edison celebrates winning The Guinness Galway Hurdle Handicap at Ballybrit last year. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Tony McCoy on board Thomas Edison celebrates winning The Guinness Galway Hurdle Handicap at Ballybrit last year. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

 
Dermot WeldTony MartinGalway

The Martin-trained Thomas Edison famously landed a gamble under Tony McCoy in last year’s Guinness Galway Hurdle and the JP McManus-owned star is set to try and become just the second horse to win the festival highlight back-to-back.

Pinch Hitter managed the double in 1982-83 but the 50th year of Guinness’s sponsorship of the Day Four festival feature is being marked with a €50,000 prizemoney injection which takes the Hurdle fund to €300,000.

The prospect of Martin targeting such a big money handicap has bookmakers taking no chances as the famously shrewd trainer also has the general 8-1 Galway Hurdle favourite, Quick Jack, as well as four other entries including Savello who however is more likely tackle the Tote.com Galway Plate over fences.

“All going well, Thomas Edison will go back for the Hurdle. Hopefully he’s at the stage he’s at the stage he was last year,” said Martin who also landed 2014’s big amateur festival prize, the Connacht Hotel Handicap with Quick Jack.

In his three runs since, Quick Jack has been placed in the English Cesarewitch, Cheltenham’s County Hurdle and May’s Chester Cup.

Great run

Martin’s Galway fortunes have jumped spectacularly forward in recent years. Half a dozen winners in 2014 was just three shy of Weld’s tally while in 2013 Martin secured a remarkable nine winners, only two off Weld who has picked up the leading trainer award at the festival for the last 28 years.

Pyromaniac could fly the Martin flag in this year’s Connacht Hotel Handicap. “At the moment we’ve a few nice ones to go. Savello is in the Plate and all going well he’ll have a crack at that,” said the trainer.

Another JP McManus-owned star, Kitten Rock, tops the Galway Hurdle weights, leaving Thomas Edison currently with 10.10 on his back. He beat the Gordon Elliott trained pair, Bayan and The Game Changer, 12 months ago and all three are set to renew rivalry again.

Elliott said: “They are in very good form. They would like a bit of nice ground and we’ll just have to keep them ticking over. They were second and third last year so we know they like the track and that is a big plus.”

The 2012 Hurdle winner Rebel Fitz has been beaten just once in his last ten starts, but the last of those was in October. Nevertheless his trainer Mick Winters has given him entries in both the Hurdle and the Plate and appears to be favouring the smaller obstacle option for his stable star.

Winning effort

Boston Bob tops the Plate weights and is one of 11 entries left in by champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins. Ladbrokes make Mullins’s Alelchi Inios a 10-1 favourite.

Hidden Cyclone’s sole previous start at Galway was over fences in 2013 but after a recent winning effort on the flat, he is as low as 10-1 for the big hurdle prize and trainer ‘Shark’ Hanlon is feeling positive.

“The Leopardstown run has really sharpened him up and I think he goes there with a big shout,” said Hannon.

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