Wednesday 13 September
Paul Wells' Maria's Benefit made a very good start to her hurdling career in Worcester yesterday. Another second place for Stuart and his team, but she ran very well on the whole, and everyone was happy. She was keen early, but once hitting the front she stopped pulling overly hard - she jumped very well for her hurdling debut, and although it looked liked she would pick up the leader up the home straight - the lack of a recent run caught her out slightly and she went down by a mere half length. MB is a tough, genuine mare, that has a bright future, and she will be a lot of fun through the winter months. Apart from a small cut that needed a couple of staples in her near hind leg, she seemed fine after the race, and was straight into her tea when she got home. Today another of the Fences Farm 'Mares Posse' makes the trip to Uttoxeter. Kayla makes her chasing debut. This ultra consistent little mare has won a bumper and three hurdle races, but has suffered at the hands of the handicapper as a result, and is on a mark that she just can't win off over hurdles. So Stuart has decided to try her over fences, and although she isn't very big, she has schooled amazingly at home. Today she is the outsider of 5 in a Novice Chase, and rightly so, her hurdles form is not in the same league as the other 4, but at least after today she can run in a Novice Handicap chase with the experience under her belt, rather than throw her into a handicap at the first time of asking. It was either do this or 'waste' another run over hurdles where she would struggle carrying a lot of weight again. At least this route provides a step forward for her.