LiveScore Racing News: Punchestown a possibility for Marie's Rock

Marie's Rock is being considered for the Punchestown Festival but retirement talk is on hold
Marie's Rock is being considered for the Punchestown Festival but retirement talk is on hold

Tom Palin, bloodstock and National Hunt manager for Middleham Park Racing, would like to press on with Cheltenham Festival winner Marie's Rock and has highlighted Punchestown as a potential next destination. 

Marie's Rock, under the guidance of jockey Nico de Boinville, produced a brilliant performance to win the Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle on day one of the Cheltenham Festival at Prestbury Park. 

The seven-year-old, who is trained by Nicky Henderson and owned by Middleham Park Racing XLII, was nearly two lengths clear of second-placed Queens Brook, while Mrs Milner and Stormy Ireland were third and fourth respectively. 

Willie Mullins' Echoes In Rain was back in fifth in the race, failing to make any real impression on the winner, while Heaven Help Us and Martello Sky filled the sixth and seventh positions respectively. 

It is now three victories from the last four starts for Marie's Rock, who also triumphed at Warwick last month and at Kempton Park on Boxing Day last year in a Class 3 Handicap Hurdle. 

Although connections are yet to have a proper discussion on what is next for mare, Palin is keen to keep the momentum going and has hinted at a possible trip to Ireland next month for the Irish EBF Mares Champion Hurdle. 

He said: "We have yet to have a true discussion about whether we go again. I think while we have got her in this kind of form if we are able to I'd like to try and go again with her.

"I'm aware there's a Grade One over two-and-a-half miles at Punchestown in about a month's time for mares' only. That is probably the logical next step to keep her against her own sex. 

"She's beaten all the mares and I imagine it will be similar horses turning up if we did think about going there." 

Retirement talk is on hold for Nicky Henderson's charge
Retirement talk is on hold for Nicky Henderson's charge

The performance of Marie's Rock seems to have put any talk of retirement to one side for the time being, with Palin revealing the thoughts of breeding are not on the agenda. 

He added: "We've not spoken about retirement. She's a racehorse first and foremost. 

"We want to go racing for as long as we can with her. Breeding is not something we necessarily get involved in. We'd be ending up selling her. 

"As long as she is racing well and being competitive, long may that continue. There are absolutely no plans to retire her."

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