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Owners of unbeaten Marie’s Rock dreaming of Cheltenham Festival success

Thu 2 Jan 2020

Marie’s Rock fuelled her owners’ Cheltenham Festival dreams as she maintained her unbeaten record at Taunton.

Winner of a bumper and now two hurdle races, Middleham Park Racing’s pride and joy is only an 8-1 shot for the Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle in March.

In the care of Nicky Henderson, Marie’s Rock confirmed the impression of her Haydock success when scooting up by eight lengths in Somerset.

Marie's Rock impressed when winning at Taunton last time out

“You couldn’t help but be very impressed,” said Tom Palin, Middleham Park’s National Hunt manager.

“She’s done that twice now – that turn of foot is very potent.

“I struggled to find a flaw with her Haydock run, and again at Taunton. Granted, she only jumped four flights (due to low sun), but she was very good at those four. She’s obviously got bags of speed and is bred to stay further.

“She’s very exciting indeed for syndicate members. Nicky has another nice horse in Floressa. We’re happy to be guided by him, but it’s what we get into the National Hunt game for.

“She fully deserves her chance at the mares’ novice. She’s announced herself in a big way in the mares’ novice stage. That’s where she’s got to go, God willing.”

If Marie’s Rock takes in another run before the Festival, it may be at Haydock this month.

Marie's Rock was also impressive at Haydock in December

“Whether we see her again before Cheltenham, I’m not sure,” added Palin.

“We’ll see the new year in, let her get over Taunton and see how she is.

“The one race we could maybe entertain is the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Trial at Haydock on January 18 over two miles.

“She’s obviously already won over the course and distance. It’s a Grade Two – she has to take on the boys, and she has beaten the boys at Haydock before.

“But Nicky is the master of Cheltenham. There’s no finer man at plotting the way to Cheltenham.

“We’re more than happy to be guided by Mr Henderson.”

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