Wednesday 13 December 2017

Arkle puts a smile on Martin’s face

TONY MARTIN can look back at Sunday's Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown with a smile on his face for more than one reason.

First of all, the trainer's Gift Of Dgab ran his best race to date to fill the runner-up spot behind the impressive Flemenstar.

Secondly, and perhaps more crucially, his stable star Bog Warrior had Flemenstar well beaten off when winning on his fencing debut at Navan in November.

The stablemates both raced at Leopardstown on St Stephen’s Day, with Bog Warrior falling and bringing down Gift Of Dgab.

“Gift Of Dgab ran a good race the other day and we were very happy with him,” said Martin.

“It makes his run over Christmas look unlucky as the horses that were first and second that day (Blackstairmountain and Notus De La Tour) were behind him at the weekend, but that's racing.

“You'd say on his run the other day he could be a possible for Cheltenham now, but he's well entered up and we'll see nearer the time."

Following his tumble over the Festive period, Martin has taken things slowly with stable star Bog Warrior, but he could soon be back in competitive action.

He holds entries in the Arkle, the Jewson Novices' Chase and the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but his trainer is in no rush to commit him to a target.

“We always thought he was a good horse and luckily enough his form is working out well,” the trainer added.

“He's working away now and we're building up gradually. He has plenty of options coming up and we'll see where we're going after he does a bit of work this weekend.

“It's only the first day of February, so we won't be making any definite plans for Cheltenham until later in the month. He's in everything.”

Carruthers could be back in action at Newbury on Saturday week after escaping serious injury in the Coral Welsh National.

The Hennessy hero needed several stitches after being badly struck in the Chepstow marathon.

Mark Bradstock's popular nine-year-old claimed a famous success when making most of the running at Newbury in November and may be fit enough to return there for the Betfair Denman Chase.

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