Milan Mare Realises Grade 1 Potential At Cheltenham
Marie’s Rock (7m Milan - By The Hour, by Flemensfirth) produced a career-best performance to capture the Grade 1 Mares’ Hurdle on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Nicky Henderson’s lightly raced charge came into the race with two black-type wins to her name, but faced stiffer competition against five previous Festival winners. Nico de Boinville positioned her in midfield and made headway from two out, increasing the pressure upon entering the straight. Improving to lead 110 yards from home, she ran on well to win by a length and three quarters, with the same distance back to Mrs Milner (Flemensfirth) in third.
Marie’s Rock’s talent was never doubted by Henderson, who commented after the race, “Marie’s Rock was almost favourite for the Mares' Novice (Hurdle) the year before last but she got injured. We always knew she was a good filly. She'll fight, she's tough. She's a hardy girl.”
Owned by Middleham Park Racing, the daughter of Grange Stud sire Milan was bred by Daniel Breen.