Connections of Marie’s Rock usually are not getting carried away forward of the Ladbrokes Dedicated To Safer Playing Intermediate Hurdle at Newbury.
Comparisons have been drawn between her and stablemate Epatante, who received Saturday’s race – registered because the Gerry Feilden Hurdle – earlier than occurring to land the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton after which the Champion Hurdle itself.
Nevertheless, whereas Epatante had already been to a Cheltenham Pageant and was operating off a lowly mark of simply 137, Marie’s Rock has had simply two runs over hurdles as a result of her earlier marketing campaign was lower quick by harm, and he or she is operating off 141 in what appears to be like a a lot deeper race.
Having taken half in a gallop with steady companion Floressa not too long ago, the 2 now conflict for actual.
Tom Palin, of Marie’s Rock’s homeowners Middleham Park Racing, stated: “The silver lining of lacking Cheltenham is that typically horses profit drastically from additional time to strengthen up, however we have been wanting ahead to March.
“The actual fact she’s coming right here unbeaten in three, she stays vastly thrilling and he or she’s summered very properly. She appears to be like wonderful – Nicky Henderson and his workforce have been excellent at sending photos and movies to our members as a result of we’ve not been in a position to go, after all.
“Her work has been glorious thus far, with out urgent too many buttons, and her education has been nice – she’s solely jumped half as many flights in public as she ought to have, as a result of half have been dolled off when she received at Taunton.
“I feel we have got a stiffer job than Epatante – she was rated decrease than we’re and was a bit extra the completed article. We have nonetheless received a couple of inquiries to reply, so it is a fact-finding mission as she’s solely had two begins over hurdles, which is why my glass might be solely half full.
“This appears to be like a powerful race, definitely in comparison with the Taunton kind which was towards mares solely. There are nonetheless inquiries to be answered, however hopefully she solutions them on Saturday.
“With reference to the place we go subsequent, we now have no plan as a result of we nonetheless do not actually know what we now have on our palms. She might reply the query with authority. Hopefully she kicks on and makes a little bit of a splash.”
Together with Floressa and prime weight Botox Has, who was spectacular on his return at Cheltenham, Marie’s Rock might face her sternest check from Paul Nicholls’ Thyme White, a straightforward winner at Chepstow first day out.
“He received impressively on good floor at Chepstow seven weeks in the past and was as a result of have a crack on the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham till the bottom turned heavy,” Nicholls advised Betfair.
“Circumstances at Newbury will probably be far more to the liking of Thyme White in a race I all the time like to focus on, though it’s laborious for four-year-olds towards older horses who don’t get any weight allowances for his or her age.”
Nicholls holds a really robust hand within the Grade Two Ladbrokes John Francome Novices’ Chase, with Southfield Stone and the ex-Willie Mullins-trained Subsequent Vacation spot amongst a top quality subject of six.
Subsequent Vacation spot is making his chasing debut, having run with nice credit score on his first begin for Nicholls when ending behind Roksana over hurdles at Wetherby.
“I used to be over the moon together with his efficiency at Wetherby a month in the past on his first begin for 920 days,” stated Nicholls.
“To remain on as he did into second place behind the good mare Roksana was superior after being off for all that point. I might half been coaching him with the handbrake on, and he has undoubtedly improved for the run.
“Subsequent Vacation spot is a Grade One-winning hurdler, appears to be like each inch a chaser – and his education has been excellent forward of this debut over fences. He’s an thrilling prospect.”
Southfield Stone was no match for the thrilling Protektorat final day out, however had earlier overwhelmed subsequent Paddy Energy Gold Cup winner Coole Cody.
“He has taken properly to fences, is progressive – and that is his final likelihood to compete in novice firm,” stated Nicholls.
“On his first begin this season at Cheltenham, he beat Coole Cody – who proceeded to win the Paddy Energy Gold subsequent time. Southfield Stone then could not lay a glove on Protektorat again at Cheltenham, however nonetheless ran in addition to could be anticipated because the winner seemed a critical horse.
“He’ll benefit from the flat observe and higher floor.”