Martin stayers set for Irish Ces
Views from connections ahead of Sunday's Tote Irish Cesarewitch at the Curragh.
Pyromaniac (right): In good shape for Sunday examination
Trainer Tony Martin believes both Pyromaniac and Artful Artist are capable of making their presence felt in the Tote Irish Cesarewitch at the Curragh on Sunday.
Pyromaniac heads the betting for the prestigious end-of-season handicap having finished a close second to stable companion Quick Jack in a similarly competitive event at Leopardstown last month.
Martin had been considering a tilt at Saturday's Betfred Cesarewitch at Newmarket with his charge, but he instead remains on home soil to contest the Irish equivalent 24 hours later.
Artful Artist has finished runner-up on his last two starts and while he is much bigger odds than his stable companion, Martin feels there is little to choose between the pair.
"I'm hoping they'll both run well," said the Summerhill handler.
"Pyromaniac ran well the last day and has been in good form since.
"Artful Artist has run well the last twice in Killarney and Galway and was probably a shade unlucky the last day.
"I don't think there's much between them, they both deserve to be there and hopefully both have each-way chances."
Swamp Fox is on a hat-trick following a Flat triumph at the Galway Festival and a lucrative victory over hurdles at Listowel, but trainer Joe Murphy is downbeat, with his stable under a cloud.
Murphy said: "Lots of my horses have been coughing which is obviously a bit of a worry. This horse has scoped clean and seems in good form, but we're going there on a bit of a wing and a prayer.
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"Other than that, the horse has done everything right. He's won four races as a four-year-old and has never run a bad race in his life. It's great to have a runner in the race and as long as the ground isn't firm, which it won't be, then it's no problem to him.
"But the truth is he hasn't had an ideal preparation, those are the facts."
The sole British challenger in the field is Slunovrat, trained by Sussex-based Frenchman David Menuisier.
The five-year-old bolted up over an extended two miles at York last month and remains unexposed over marathon trips.
Menuisier said: "He won well last time and we're keeping our fingers crossed for another big run. I'm hopeful he can improve, but we will see. I just hope everything goes well.
"He goes on any ground, to be fair. It was on the soft side at York and he handled it well, but I'm not too worried either way."
Theos Well won decisively in much more testing conditions a fortnight ago and trainer Mick Winters is looking forward to seeing how his charge performs on a sounder surface.
He said: "I think he got away with the ground the last day more than anything and it should be perfect for him on Sunday. I think good ground suits him, but the question mark you'd have is whether those horses might just be a bit quick for him on the better ground. The last day it was soft and loose and that just steadied the whole thing up.
"He seems in great form, though, and we are going back up to two miles. There's some good prize-money down to sixth and hopefully he has a good each-way chance. We're looking forward to it."
Admirable dual-purpose mare Jennies Jewel carries top-weight for trainer Jarlath Fahey.
The nine-year-old claimed Royal Ascot glory in the Ascot Stakes at June, but needs to bounce back from a disappointing comeback run in last month's Loughbrown Stakes.
Fahey said: "She was found to be in season after her last run, so that's what we're putting it down to. She seems in good form since. We could do with the ground being a bit softer and she has to shoulder top-weight, which makes the job a bit tougher.
"We could do with a drop of rain over the weekend, but it doesn't look like there's any in the forecast, unfortunately. We haven't made any plans beyond Sunday."
Gordon Elliott runs Eshtiaal, Kashmiri Sunset, Automated and Water Sprite.
Willie Mullins claimed last year's renewal with Digeanta and is represented by hat-trick seeking three-year-old Laws Of Spin, who crept in at the bottom of the weights.
Other contenders include the Joseph O'Brien-trained Cradle Mountain and Magnolia Rose from Dermot Weld's stable.
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