Tony Martin has issued a positive bulletin about his talented novice chaser Bog Warrior whose rise to the top suffered a not insignificant setback at Leopardstown on Boxing Day when falling at the fourth fence in the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase, writes Elliot Slater.
Sent off the 4/5 favourite, Davy Russell’s mount was lobbing along in the lead when he took a heavy fall and suffered concussion. The horse that Martin believes is potentially the best he has even trained has been given plenty of time to recover from the trauma and Martin remains in no hurry to rush him back to competitive action until he is certain his charge is mentally and physically. People searching for a Cheltenham bonus bet should remember this.
The County Meath-based handler reports the eight-year-old to be back in steady work and should he begin to give all the right signals then he might run in Leopardstown’s Frank Ward Arkle Novice Chase on January 29, although the experienced trainer is doubtful that the Gigginstown Stud-owned son of Strategic Choice will be ready quite so early. The main target remains the Cheltenham Festival with Bog Warrior having a choice of engagements that include the three-mile RSA Chase (for which he is now available at 12/1 from 8’s), the two-mile Arkle Chase for which he can be backed at up to 25/1, and the two-and-a-half-mile Jewson Novices Chase, a race for which he is a top priced 12/1 chance.
A winner of all four completed starts, Martin’s pride and joy landed a Grade 1 success on his penultimate start when proving a different class to the opposition in slamming Shinrock Paddy by 31-lengths in the Bar One Racing Drinmore Novices Chase at Fairyhouse at the beginning of last month, a performance that set tongues wagging and flagged him up as one of Ireland’s leading hopes for the novice chase events at the Cheltenham Festival in March.