Maria's Benefit on course for Kempton over Christmas

Maria's Benefit on course for Kempton over Christmas

Maria's Benefit looks set to tackle the Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton over Christmas, after the talented mare followed up her debut over fences, with a comfortable success at Bangor.

The six-year-old made all the running over a distance of 2m2f last week, which is now persuading trainer Stuart Edmunds, to send her into Grade 2 company next time out.

Edmunds said: “That was the furthest she has ever been at Bangor, and Ciaran (Gethings) was fairly confident that he had got everything under control.

“She jumped great, and I was very pleased with the performance. There is not much else for her in the mares’ programme for her, and she will now have a Listed penalty, so I think the plan will be to go to Kempton the day after Boxing Day for the Wayward Lad," said the Buckinghamshire trainer.

Maria's Benefit looked a promising novice hurdler last season with five wins on the bounce, before finishing fourth behind the classy Laurina, in the Mares Novice at the Festival.

Edmunds believes that she will be no stranger to featuring against high class rivals.

”Maria’s Benefit has put herself into that bracket, and came up valiantly in defeat to Laurina at Cheltenham, who will surely contest the Champion Hurdle. There is no shame in that.

“The more you win, the harder it gets, but I’ve got no complaints,” he added.

Edmunds also thought her most impressive performance was at Taunton last December, which is a sharp, right-handed track, so on paper, Kempton should really suit her.

“She is highly-rated for a mare, so the geldings are going to have to be 150-rated to have a good go at her," he concluded.

Maria's Benefit won five of her seven races over hurdles, and is now two from two over fences. She looks a smart prospect going forward.