GBI RACING

Hopes high for Maria's Benefit in Laurina clash at Cheltenham

Turf action Stuart Edmunds is unsure how Maria's Benefit will cope if testing conditions prevail for the Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham on Thursday.
The six-year-old has won each of her five starts since being beaten on her hurdling debut at Worcester last September, most recently claiming a Grade Two prize at Doncaster in January.
Although she has since suffered a minor setback, Edmunds reports his star mare in fine form as she prepares to lead the British challenge against the Willie Mullins-trained Irish hotpot Laurina.
However, he admits only time will tell if she will prove as effective if the current soft ground remains.
Edmunds said: "I am slightly concerned about the ground, but the jockey (Ciaran Gethings) is not.
"She is 100 per cent and she will go there. She did her last three-quarters piece of work (on Saturday morning). She is very well and I couldn't be more happier with her.
"I think she is better on better ground, but the jockey said it won't bother her."
Maria's Benefit is a general 5-1 shot for her Festival assignment, with Laurina the 8-11 favourite.

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