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Sunday 17 December 2017

Ted Veale is sole Irish raider after Harrington 'Steps' away

TONY MARTIN'S Ted Veale is now set to be the only Irish raider on tomorrow's prestigious Tote Ebor Handicap at York after trainer Jessica Harrington this morning withdrew Steps To Freedom following heavy overnight rain at the track.

Harrington had told The Herald yesterday evening that she was hoping the track wouldn't get the 10mm that was forecast tonight, however unexpected deluges late last night has meant that Harrington has opted against sending over the high class dual-purpose horse.

"I was hoping it wouldn't rain too much tonight and that they wouldn't water, but when the rain came last night and the ground changed we decided not to run," Harrington said.

"It's frustrating as his form had been rock solid all year and this race has been the plan for a while now."

Officials at York Racecourse revealed that the track endured 20mm of rain following an overnight storm and changed the ground to good to soft with the forecast for more rain later this evening which is due to clear before racing tomorrow.

Trainer Tony Martin yesterday as good as confirmed Wednesday's Bellewstown winner Ted Veale for the Ebor for which he is one of the leading player in the betting.

Martin declared Ted Veale yesterday morning but was adamant at lunchtime that he wouldn't make a final decision until fully assessing the horses wellbeing following his success on Wednesday night.

The trainer, who enjoyed more success at Bellewstown last night with Blackmail winning the novice hurdle also in the colours of Ted Veale's owner John Breslin, admitted: "It's not an ideal preparation but we'll see what happens."

Martin added: "We had to declare him yesterday morning and we'll see how he is today, but it looks likely he'll be going to York.

The Meath trainer has enjoyed a memorable year and having tasted Cheltenham success with Ted Veale, owner John Breslin has enjoyed a fruitful association with Martin and now last night's winner Blackmail looks an exciting novice for the season ahead.

Reflecting on the current run of form the trainer concluded: "Everything couldn't have went better - you couldn't write it - so hopefully, touch wood, there's a few nice horses there and we are not finished yet."

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