TRAINER Tony Martin admits only time will tell whether Ted Veale’s recent exertions have taken their toll ahead of his bid for his second win in the space of four days in the Betfred Ebor at York today.
The Cheltenham Festival winner fluffed his lines when favourite for a Galway Hurdle run in bottomless ground, but had plenty to spare when striking on the level at Bellewstown on Wednesday.
Martin is hopeful the prospect of ease in the ground will not worry his charge. He said: “We’ll check on him again Saturday to make sure he’s all right, but at the moment he’s an intended runner.
“His form is there for everyone to see. It was good to firm when he won at Bellewstown and soft when he won the County Hurdle in Cheltenham. We’ll see how we go on Saturday.”
David Simcock launches a formidable three-pronged attack, with leading contender Sheikhzayedroad joined by stable companions and lively outsiders No Heretic and Montaser in the line-up.
Simcock said: “All three horses are going there in good form, but the rain would be a slight concern for all of them.
“Of the three, I think Sheikhzayedroad would probably cope best with softer ground. He has form in soft, but he would prefer it faster.
“He’s in good form and we’ve been aiming at this race with him for a long time. For the other two the ground would be a worry if it gets soft. Fingers crossed they don’t get any more rain.”
Leading owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing are represented by ante-post favourite Opinion and Guarantee. Racing manager Harry Herbert said: “He (Opinion) has gone from strength to strength this year.
“He’s very well drawn in stall five and I think Sir Michael has him in great form. The step up in trip should suit so I think everyone can go there optimistic that he has a leading chance.
“William (Haggas) has always thought he’s (Guarantee) a horse who could run a big race in the Ebor and I certainly wouldn’t rule him out of it.
“Any rain would help and I don’t think that an outside draw is a big problem for him, as it might suit him to finish through horses.”
Yorkshire-born Haggas also saddles Sun Central, who landed the Silver Cup on the Knavesmire last month.
David Redvers, racing manager for owners Qatar Racing, feels testing conditions will be to the detriment of the chances of the Peter Chapple-Hyam-trained Caravan Rolls On.
Redvers said: “On his form this year we’d be very hopeful, but the rain that has fallen definitely isn’t in his favour.”