MARILYN MONROE extended the sparkling form of our team with the narrowest possible victory in her first handicap hurdle at Taunton on Wednesday.

A half sister to Regal Encore and The Organist, she won an Irish point-to-point before joining us and was then successful in a bumper at Fontwell during her first campaign in this country.

But she was undeniably disappointing in four starts over hurdles last winter which was a write off as she hated the prevailing soft and heavy ground and invariably finished towards the rear.

An opening mark of 82 and a step up to three miles on more suitable ground at Taunton offered an early opportunity for improvement from Marilyn Monroe but after travelling well and jumping fluently she had to work hard to see off the strong challenge of Hidden Depths . In a thrilling, very combative finish, and under a driving ride from our conditional Rex Dingle, she took the advantage by a shade.

Given that it was such a tight finish she shouldn’t go up more than 5lbs or 6lbs and I am not in a rush to run her again provided the ground remains in her favour.

I’d certainly like to think there is more to come from Marilyn Monroe who is owned by the Some Like It Hot partnership and ridden every day at home by my wife Rachael.

Tomorrow we have Shapiro in the Weatherbys Stallion Book Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at 13.28 at Newton Abbot. Her profile up to last season was progressive having been placed in bumpers and a winner of her debut over hurdles. Last season she lost her way and the wheels completely fell off, she never even threatened to run well. I’m hopeful she’ll turn that around and bounce back to some kind of form and she resumes this term 14lbs lower than she started her last campaign.

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