Martin hoping for the best with Benefficient
Benefficient in action at Down Royal
(Healy Racing Photos)
Grade One-winning hurdler Benefficient has enjoyed a decent start to his career over fences, finishing second at Limerick and winning comfortably at Down Royal before filling the runner-up spot in a good novice chase at Newbury over three miles.
He comes back to two miles and a furlong for this Grade One assignment, but
it is the opposition, rather than the trip, that is the concern for Martin.
The Willie Mullins-trained Arvika Ligeonniere looked a potential superstar when slamming Martin's Dedigout in the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse last time.
"He's in cracking shape and I think it was a good experience for him running in Newbury. Hopefully that should stand him in good stead," said Martin.
"I think three miles is a bit of a slog for him at this stage, so we're coming back in trip with him and I've no worries about where we're going.
"He won his Grade One over hurdles over two and a quarter miles, so hopefully he'll be all right.
"Willie's horse is the one we'd all love to be on. When he won in Fairyhouse I thought he's as good a horse as I've seen in a while.
"Someone from outside racing could watch him and know he's a bit special. Oscars Well is a very good horse as well. I've a lot of admiration for both horses."
Mouse Morris saddles Baily Green, who owes his connections nothing having won seven races on the bounce before being beaten by Twinlight at Punchestown last month.
Morris said: "I think he's entitled to take his chance in a race like this.
"He got beaten the last day but he ran a cracker and was only beaten a length.
"This is another step up for him but it's the obvious progression for him and we may as well dip our toe in and see what happens.
"The ground isn't going to be ideal for him but it will be better than it is anywhere else, so he'll have to cope with it."
The ground at Leopardstown ahead of the four day Christmas Festival, which starts on St Stephen's Day (Wednesday), is now soft, yielding to soft in places.