Martin hoping City can avoid Coral heartbreak
Tony Martin has few concerns ahead of Heartbreak City's Coral.ie Handicap Hurdle bid at Leopardstown on Sunday when conditional jockey Donagh Meyler will ride.
Just denied when runner-up in the Melbourne Cup when last seen in November, the Lando-bred's preparation is anything but conventional, but that is not bothering his trainer. In theory, the horse is operating off a mark that may make him a handicap certainty.
The Summerhill, Co Meath trainer won the race 14 years ago with Xenophon, and went close with Quick Jack three years ago. He is also set to run Golden Spear, Gladiator King and Tudor City.
"They've different owners and the pot is enticing so why not run them all," said Martin. "I'm happy with Heartbreak City; with that amount of runners you need an awful lot of luck, eight hurdles to be jumped too, but I wouldn't be looking for dangers among the opposition.
"After Melbourne he had a break for three weeks or so. Then he start riding out, fitness is not an issue and I've no worries on that score. I guess you remember that Quick Jack with Paul Carberry up did not get the luck of the race but Donagh knows Heartbreak City, having won on him at Galway."
Martin expects Meyler to sit in midfield. "I'd say he'll ride him away and follow six or seven of them. Yielding ground will be nice; he's versatile."
The horse's colourful set of owners are living the dream and Martin is keen to accede to requests that the horse travels again in the future - and not necessarily to Cheltenham, where he may bid to win the Coral Cup, as Xenophon did.
"He has loads of options. Not to mention the jumps meetings, he has been invited to Dubai for the carnival for huge money. That is a big option There are Australian boys involved as well and there is a race in Sydney in April he could go for. I'd like to keep all parties happy. I'm just hoping first everything goes right on Sunday."
Heartbreak City was backed to score in the two-mile event yesterday, to the extent that 5/2 is the best price now available.
Anibale Fly will attempt to put his Kempton flop behind him in the Grade Three novice chase at the track on Sunday. Martin is happy to ignore that run at Christmas. "The ground was plenty good that day, I thought it was too good," he reasoned. "He's good since."
Anibale Fly looks set to take on a probable odds-on favourite in Yorkhill. That one's stablemates, Annie Power and Faugheen, the last two winners of the Champion Hurdle, headline a 28-strong entry for the March 14 Cheltenham feature.