Saturday 7 December 2019

Meyler to have a day to remember for Martin

Johnny Ward

Not stomaching the courage to ask that girl out can gnaw and gnaw. In the same way, letting Heartbreak City go without backing him tomorrow seems too troubling to contemplate.

The Melbourne Cup runner-up's participation ensures the feature Hurdle turns from a good renewal into a captivating one. Some will oppose him; others will rightly argue that if it seems too good to be true, it isn't always so.

Heartbreak City could be about 35lb well-in. He runs off 125, yet his Flat form suggests he should be capable of reaching somewhere in the region of 160.

He may need more time to achieve that. If he is to perform to 140 tomorrow, he should win, as nothing else seems to have anything like as much in hand potentially. Donagh Meyler, who rode in Galway, says: "What impressed me was the way he was able to quicken after the last when there was little pace on."

That Galway win was really impressive and he is only up 7lb. He is trained by a ratings wizard, tactically and ground-versatile and pretty bombproof today.

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Martin must be buzzing. Notwithstanding the hot favourite, he has three lively each-way players - Golden Spear, Tudor City and Gladiator King - which are entitled to consideration. Golden Spear looks the main one, since he was such a hot favourite in similar company last time.

Others to consider, like Gladiator King, run in the JP McManus silks. That's A Wrap did wonders to score last time over course and trip. Third on that occasion, After Rain, was a hot favourite in this race 12 months ago.

Sometimes, though, something staring you in the face needs to be asked out on a date or - in this case - given substantial financial allegiance.

Could it be that Meyler, an accomplished teenage hurler in Co Kilkenny before the bug of racing got too much, will also score aboard 33/1 Killer Crow in the Leopardstown Handicap Chase?

Unlike Heartbreak City, this steed is far from solid - he has won once in 19 chase starts, out of the first three in 16 of them. However, he was second to the chucked-in Empire Of Dirt 12 months ago, has perfect conditions today and has come down 5lb in the weights since.

This is much more open than the hurdle event, with Gordon Elliott running six horses as well as the selection as he attempts to win yet another Grade A handicap chase. A Toi Phil is the class act but the ground may be a bit lively for him. Space Cadet may offer more of a threat under the returning Jonathan Burke.

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Yorkhill will be many of the heavy hitters' pick today. Favourite for the JLT Novice Chase at Cheltenham, he was pretty flawless on his chase debut, and should have two much for his rivals in the Grade Three novice chase.

Those who like the horse for Cheltenham should likely get on now, as an Arkle bid seems highly unlikely, though Anibale Fly is capable of making him at least come off the bridle.

John Kiely took the opening mares' maiden hurdle in dramatic fashion 12 months ago. Toe The Line has a big chance of reversing the form of three weeks ago when she was behind Bargy Lady and Awayinthewest, considering the ground is much nicer now.

Ruby Walsh teams up with the in-form Henry de Bromhead in the other maiden hurdle with Capital Force. He has a great chance on the merit of his debut outing, though he was disappointing last time. Harold Peto is a danger.

The staying handicap hurdle is of limited wagering interest - Woodford Island a hopeful pick - while Derrinross could take the finale under Jamie Codd. He is a promising son of Scorpion.

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