Marie Rocks in 'The Warfield'
Our 7th winner of 2024: MARIE'S ROCK, trained by Nicky Henderson OBE and ridden by James Bowen: The GRADE 2 'SBK Warfield Mares' Hurdle' over 3m 1/2f at Doncaster.
The race was moved from its usual home of Ascot from the previous week, because of the frozen ground.
She took her customary keen hold in the early part of the race and sat in touch with the leaders. She jumped well, apart from not being fluent 3 out, but recovered quickly. As the pace llifted, she soon went into second two from home and took the lead after the last hurdle. It's a long run-in at Doncaster and although challenged, she stayed on gamely, to win by 1 and a 1/2 lengths.
A nice congratulatory hand for James, from Gavin Sheehan (rider of the second horse, You Wear It Well) after the line was a nice touch.
Watch the full race replay here: https://www.attheraces.com/racecard/Doncaster/28-January-2024/1435
She returned to her happy owners in the winners circle to applause and cheers - quite right too!
James said in his Sky Sports Racing interview, with Mick Fitzgerald:
Timeform rated it as a 140+ performance, saying: "Made the most of a good opportunity, back against her own sex. In touch, travelled fluently, going well when mistake 3 out, produced to lead before last, tackled soon after, asserted final 1f.”
See the official photographs, here: https://www.nigelkirbyphotography.com/Horse-Racing/Doncaster-Racecourse/Meetings-2024/Doncaster-Sun-28-Jan-2024/Race-5
There was a lot of press attention after the race and you can read two stories here, from The Racing Post: https://www.racingpost.com/news/reports/maries-rock-7-1-for-mares-hurdle-after-returning-to-winning-ways-in-doncaster-grade-2-aZ3NU9v2NwYD/ and At The Races: https://www.attheraces.com/news/2024/January/28/marie's-rock-ready-to-roll-the-dice-against-lossiemouth
Syndicate manager Tom, says: "She is developing some CV now; being a dual Grade 1 winner, dual Listed winner and now a dual Grade 2 winner, showing she is a top class performer. She showed every bit of tenacity and heart as she did when she was four there yesterday. The race developed into a sprint and she showed that turn of foot we've seen from her before in the finish. We'll count down now to Cheltenham and the Mares Hurdle, as you will have read in the Racing Post article above and this morning I was interviewed on At The Races - a snippet of which you can watch below. I'm delighted for her syndicate - well done to them all."
Tom talking to 'At The Races' on Monday morning: