Tony Martin is once again likely to be the toast of punters if Quick Jack (right) can deliver for favourite-backers in the Betfred Cesarewitch at Newmarket on Saturday.
The County Meath maestro has become famous for his exploits in major handicaps over the years, mainly under National Hunt rules, although he did claim the 2007 Cesarewitch with Leg Spinner.
Quick Jack has been campaigned under both codes since joining Martin early last year, striking over hurdles at Listowel and Cheltenham, as well as winning on the level at Newmarket, Navan and, most recently, at the Galway Festival.
With title-chasing jockey Richard Hughes booked for the ride, the five-year-old looks primed for a bold show.
Martin said: “He had a nice break after Galway, putting on a lot of weight, and has been back in work a good month now.
“We kind of lined him up (for Galway) after he ran well in the Pierse (Boylesports) Hurdle at Leopardstown, he was a bit unlucky there (finished third).
“The owner (John Breslin) is based in America but likes to come home for Listowel, Galway, Leopardstown, Cheltenham, that sort of thing.
“After Leopardstown, we put him in for Galway and we were happy it worked so well.
“I said there’s no point going here, there, and everywhere, we’d try to pick a race that was suitable.
“We only inherited him last year, he doesn’t carry a lot of weight and as he’s only five, we thought we’d not over-race him and it seems to work.”
The leading hope for the home contingent is Big Easy, who aims to secure a second Cesarewitch success for the trainer-owner combination of Philip Hobbs and Terry Warner following the memorable victory of Detroit City in 2006.
The seven-year-old has shown decent form on the Flat and over jumps and warmed up for his big-race assignment with a narrow defeat in last month’s Cesarewitch Trial over course and distance.
Hobbs said: “He might have been slightly unlucky in the Trial.
“But the main thing was that they did not go that quick, and when the pace did finally quicken he was caught a bit flat-footed.
“I have been particularly happy with his condition since then and logically you would expect him to improve for that run.
“Like Detroit City, he is a very big horse, and he has not had much racing on the Flat, so he could well still be improving at the age of seven.”
Hughie Morrison has secured the services of Ryan Moore to partner Nearly Caught, an interesting contender who was last seen finishing eighth in the Ebor at York in August.
“He’s not easy to train, but he’s a good staying horse and we’ve trained him for this race since the Ebor, where he ran very well,” said Morrison.
“We’re very lucky to have Ryan and I’m happy with the horse.
“You’re never going to get desperate ground at Newmarket. I think it should be fine.”
John Quinn is widely regarded as one of the finest dual-purpose trainers in the land and has a couple of contenders in Swnymor, fifth behind Quick Jack at Galway, and Moidore.
Quinn said: “Swnymor is in great from at home and all has gone well since running in Galway.
“The draw in 34 is a big negative but if he can get some luck in running we feel he will run a big race.
“Moidore is a horse who is better for knowing and Joe Doyle, who takes the mount, rides him regularly at home.
“He ran a blinder up at Ayr where the ground was too quick for him.
“Unlike Swnymor he’s got a good draw in stall four and he has a squeak.
“We came close to winning this race in 2012 when Countrywide Flame was second.
“Hopefully one of them will go one better as both horses are fit and well and have the right profile for the race.”
Another trainer with two bullets to fire is Marco Botti.
The Newmarket-based Italian runs Chester Cup winner Suegioo and Old Newton Cup scorer De Rigueur.
“Both horses are in good form and the rain they’ve had will be a help to De Rigueur,” said Botti.
“We freshened him up after his last run at Chester and he hasn’t had many runs this year.
“He should go there with a live chance.
“Suegioo stays well and has a similar profile to De Rigueur.
“He’s improved this year since we gelded him and I don’t think there is much between the two.”
Andrew Balding has Communicator and Debdebdeb in contention and feels both horses are capable of picking up some prize-money if things fall right.
“Communicator has been in good form all year, really, finishing third the Chester Cup and the Old Borough Cup at Haydock,” said the trainer.
“He doesn’t mind a big field and stays well.
“Debdebdeb was a bit disappointing last time, albeit in Group company.”
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