EBOR hero Heartbreak City could miss his autumn engagements on the Flat – and go hurdling this winter.
Irish trainer Tony Martin’s dual purpose horse is one of the ante-post favourites for next month’s Betfred Cesarewitch at Newmarket.
The six-year-old, owned by the aptly-named Here For The Craic syndicate, also holds an entice entry in November’s Melbourne Cup.
Martin says a final decision is likely to be made this weekend once he has consulted with Heartbreak City’s owners who, he says, have just about recovered from their exuberant celebrations after their horse won the prestigious York handicap last month under Malton-based teenager Adam McNamara.
“I will know a lot more once I’ve spoken to the owners this weekend, and we’ve made a plan,” Martin told The Yorkshire Post.
“There’s the Cesarewitch, there’s Australia, there’s a race at the Arc meeting at Chantilly. There are lots of options.
“There’s a hurdling campaign too. Some of them want to go hurdling as well.
“He’s ready to run – we just need to decide which way to go. There are too many options.”
Martin was fulsome in his praise for 19-year-old McNamara, who only rode his first winner in January.
His prowess throughout the year caught the eye of one of the horse’s co-owners whose judgment was more than vindicated.
The jockey is attached to the in-form Malton yard of Richard Fahey and Martin expects McNamara to have a big future in the sport if he can manage his weight.
“The young fella, he has a wise head on young shoulders,” he said. “I was very, very impressed.”
However, Martin, one of the most respected dual purpose trainers on either side of the Irish Sea, says the young rider to watch is 17-year-old conditional jump jockey Jack Kennedy, who is leading the race to become Ireland’s champion National Hunt jockey.
Kennedy won on heartbreak City at Tipperary earlier in the summer and the trainer said: “He’s the best here since Ruby Walsh.
“He’s got an eye for a stride. Horses jump for him. He can ride from the front or behind.
“He has won races that he’s had no right to win but, more importantly, he wins the races he should win – that’s the mark of a champion.”
Bryan Smart has his fingers crossed connections of Delectation decide to keep her in Britain next season in order for her to be given the chance to develop into a Qipco 1000 Guineas contender.
The two-year-old maintained her unbeaten record on Saturday when providing her sire Delegator with a first Pattern-race success after following up her debut victory at Thirsk with a win in a six-furlong Group Three event Ayr.
Although the Australian Bloodstock-owned filly still has to prove she has the stamina for a mile, the North Yorkshire handler feels she should have no problems getting the trip in the opening fillies’ Classic of 2017.
Hambleton-based Smart said: “I thought if she wins after the start she made on Saturday, she is as good as I think she is.
“She did a stunning piece of work before she went up there and I was very happy with her going into the race. She has got a great attitude and is very professional.
“I really hope they (owners) leave her in Britain and don’t take her to Australia. The trainer wants her to stay, but it is up to them. It’s their decision.
“I’d like to think she would strengthen up over the winter and go on again to be aimed at one of the Guineas trials.
“I really don’t think she would have any problems getting the mile trip, as she settles and you can put her anywhere in a race. The 1000 Guineas is one of those races I’ve always wanted to win.”
Lightning Spear remains on course to renew rivalries with Galileo Gold and Ribchester in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on October 15.
Having finished behind both horses in the Sussex Stakes and the Prix Jacques le Marois, the David Simcock-trained five-year-old gained a first victory of the season when landing the Celebration Mile at Goodwood.
Owned by Qatar Racing, Lighting Spear was ridden with aplomb by Oisin Murphy, who brought up his century of winners for 2016 with a double at Lingfield yesterday.
It is the first time that the 21-year-old has reached the landmark in his burgeoning career, which saw him become the country’s champion apprentice in 2014 before making a smooth transition to the senior ranks of the weighing room.
Adrian Heskin feels Kilbree Kid has every chance of giving him a dream start in his new role as stable jockey to trainer Tom George in the Lord Mansfield Memorial Handicap Chase at Perth today.
Although the Grade One-winning rider, who moved over to Britain on Monday, has yet to partner the nine-year-old he expects his previous course form to help bolster his prospects of giving the fledgling partnership the perfect beginning.
Meanwhile, David Pipe’s Moon Racer, who has raced just once since winning the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in 2015 under Tom Scudamore, is set to make his debut over hurdles at Perth tomorrow.