Friday 8 December
Maria's Benefit was very good on Wednesday. She made mincemeat of her rivals in a handicap hurdle in Ludlow, and looks to be going places. Stuart has always held her in high regard, and after going up 10lbs for her Sandown win, she backed it up in some style. She has such a high cruising speed - they just don't go quick enough for her! She has come out of her race fine, and will now head to Taunton later this month for a Listed race, which she gets into with no penalties despite winning 2 £20,000 hurdle races!! She is quoted at just 14/1 for the mares novices' hurdle at The Cheltenham Festival - exciting times for Paul and Jan, and everyone at the yard! Another of Stuarts exciting fillies, Hillcrest Fire is declared to run in Aintree tomorrow. This race has veen the plan since her purchase, and if she settles she should go well, although P Nicholls filly has some very good form! Cloonacool is declared to run in Huntingdon on Sunday. The forecast doesn't look good in terms of snow, but id it is in he will run. Paddy rides, and he has had a little work on his breathing since his last run, so it will be a good test to the worth of disclosing these procedures in the future.