Maria’s Benefit put in a good round of jumping to make a successful debut over fences in the Thank You To All Our Customers This Season Novices’ Chase at Newton Abbot.
The Grade Two-winning hurdler was not disturbed by Flying Tiger harassing her for the lead in the first part of the extended two-mile contest.
The 5-6 favourite kept up her professional approach throughout and crossed the line nine lengths clear of Mont Des Avaloirs, in the hands of Ciaran Gethings.
Trainer Stuart Edmunds could not have been more delighted to finally get the mare out on the track, after avoiding firm ground only to find conditions soft at the Devon venue following over an inch of rain.
“I’m relieved! It was a very nervous morning with the rain and everything,” said the Newport Pagnell handler.
“She jumped very economically. I’m delighted with her. She might not be the tallest, but she’s very athletic.
“We just thought we’d take this day, then we’d have a look. If it hadn’t have gone well we may have gone back hurdling, but I think we’ve probably proved we can go chasing now.”
Trainer Peter Bowen and his jockey son, Sean, enjoyed a double with Beggar’s Wishes and Rolling Maul.
The rider’s move to set sail for home from the 10th fence proved decisive as Beggar’s Wishes ran out a ready winner of the Weatherbys Racing Bank Intermediate Chase.
Cheltenham Festival third Benatar had taken over the running from the seven-year-old after two fences, but the race was sealed when Beggar’s Wishes (8-1) gained several lengths on the opposition at a crucial stage in proceedings.
Dolos tried hard to peg the leader back, but was still a length and a quarter down at the line.
Bowen said: “He’ll probably go for the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham. That will be his next run, hopefully.”
Rolling Maul (8-1) produced a dominant performance when making all the running in the Weatherbys Racing Bank Foreign Exchange Handicap Hurdle.
The 10-year-old looked like being overhauled in the straight, but pulled out more to hold Timeforben by three-quarters of a length with Clondaw Cian a length away in third.
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