Real hope for Coolboy’s Ciarán in Chel­tenham!

Tal­ented Gethings will ride Maria’s Ben­e­fit on Thurs­day

Bray People - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE Sports Edi­tor

COOLBOY’S Ciarán Gethings hopes his fan­tas­tic sea­son to date will keep on get­ting bet­ter as he at­tempts to claim vic­tory in the Chel­tenham Rac­ing Fes­ti­val 2018 at Prest­bury Park in Eng­land.

The Coolboy na­tive has been ply­ing his trade as a jockey in Eng­land for a num­ber of years now, but this sea­son is prov­ing to be his finest, with 29 win­ners in the bag for the tal­ented Wick­low man.

With a pos­si­ble three rides at the fes­ti­val for Ciarán, it’s on Maria’s Ben­e­fit in the Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hur­dle on Thurs­day that he feels he has his best chance of what would be a mag­i­cal vic­tory.

The six-year-old is un­beaten in five starts and most re­cently knuck­led down well to see off Ir­ish Roe in a Grade Two at Don­caster.

Maria’s Ben­e­fit was since found to have had heat in a knee, but trainer Stu­art Ed­munds is con­fi­dent that is­sue is be­hind her as she pre­pares to take on the Wil­lie Mullins-trained hot favourite Lau­rina to­mor­row (Thurs­day).

“It’s my best sea­son so far,” Ciarán told the Wick­low Peo­ple on Tues­day evening as he re­turned home from rac­ing. “I’ve 29 wins so far, 19 was my best be­fore that, and there’s still two months to go. It’s un­be­liev­able,” he added.

Son of Hugh and Mary Gethings, Ciarán be­lieves his mount to have a “great chance” as he goes up against the Wil­lie Mullins trained Lau­rina who is ex­pected to go off as favourite for the race.

Ciarán says that Maria’s Ben­e­fit is a “very hardy” mare and that she may have picked up that at­tribute from her breeder who was none other than for­mer Kilkenny hurler Char­lie Carter who is trav­el­ling over for the race.

Ciarán’s other rides are on Clon­daw Na­tive who he feels has an each-way chance in the Al­bert Bartlett Novices’ Hur­dle (Grade 1), and he might have picked up a spare for Gor­don El­liot on Fri­day as well.

Ciarán’s most re­cent win was on board Queeno­hearts in The EBF Stal­lions/TBA Mares’ Stan­dard Open NH Flat Race at Sandown Park last Satur­day af­ter­noon, so he trav­els to Chel­tenham in fine fet­tle and with the hopes of Coolboy and the county as a while be­hind him.

Maria’s Ben­e­fit goes off in the Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hur­dle (Grade 2) at 4.50pm to­mor­row (Thurs­day) evening.

Ciarán Gethings rid­ing Queeno­hearts (R) win The EBF Stal­lions/TBA Mares’ Stan­dard Open NH Flat Race at Sandown Park race­course on Satur­day. Photo: by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Im­ages.

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