Mar 13, 755 days ago

Quick Jack set for County Hurdle bid

Quick Jack set for County Hurdle bid

Bookmakers have been hit by well-fancied runners in two of this week’s big handicap hurdles and Tony Martin’s Quick Jack could deliver another blow in Friday’s County Hurdle.

Aux Ptit Soins landed a gamble for the Paul Nicholls stable in Wednesday’s Coral Cup while Call The Cops was very popular in the Pertemps Final after a recent victory at Doncaster. Both horses attracted plenty of ante-post support and returned at 9-1.

Many punters have been holding fire on Quick Jack who was entered for several races this week. He first hit the headlines when landing a huge gamble at Cheltenham in November 2013. Ruby Walsh was on board the son of 2000 Guineas winner Footstepsinthesand as he swept clear to win off a handicap mark of 113.

Tony Martin considered running him in a number of big races that season but felt that the handicapper had been harsh in giving him a rating of 136. The gelding was beaten off a mark of 119 in Ireland when third to Gilgamboa at Leopardstown. Cheltenham was ruled out that season and he did not reappear until winning comfortably on the flat at Galway in July last year.

That set him up nicely for a tilt at the Cesarewitch Handicap at Newmarket where he again attracted heavy support. Sent off the 5-1 favourite, Richard Hughes took him to the front with a furlong to travel but he could not quite hold off Big Easy and De Rigueur. This will be his first race since but there is still a suspicion that he is better than his current handicap mark suggests.

Joining him in the field is Dr Richard Newland’s Ebony Express who is chasing a £100,000 bonus after winning the Imperial Cup at Sandown last Saturday. The six-year-old put up a brave performance to pull off a 33-1 shock when beating Rayvin Black and Gassin Golf in a thrilling finish. He picks up a 5lbs penalty for that victory as he goes in pursuit of an elusive bonus last paid out in 2007.

On that occasion it was David Pipe’s Gaspara who followed up victory in the Imperial Cup by taking the Fred Winter Hurdle. Pipe’s father, Martin, trained the winner of the bonus twice with Olympian (1993) and Blowing Wind (1998). Dr Newland will have taken great encouragement from the run of Grand National winner Pineau De Re who finished eleventh in the Pertemps Final and now heads to Aintree for a second time.

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