Stuart Edmunds is hopeful Maria’s Benefit will return as good as ever next season after being forced to draw stumps for the current campaign.
The seven-year-old won her first two starts over fences in the autumn, following up a dominant display at Newton Abbot in October with a Listed success at Bangor the following month.
She stepped up in class for the Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase at Kempton during the festive period, but unseated regular partner Ciaran Gethings and returned with an injury.
Edmunds said: “She ran in the fog at Kempton and nobody really saw what happened. Ciaran said he got unseated after she spreadeagled on landing.
“She came back with a chip on the side of her hock and she had to have a small operation. She’s come out of that well and has had the stitches out, but unfortunately she won’t run again this season.
“It’s disappointing, but the long-term prognosis is good, which is the main thing.
Prior to her Kempton mishap, Maria’s Benefit had won seven of her previous eight starts – her only defeat coming when fourth behind the Willie Mullins-trained Laurina in the Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Edmunds said: “They took us on that day (at Cheltenham) and the ground didn’t really suit us – plus Laurina is a machine.
“Our intention is very much to carry on next season. The owner has her to race, so as long as she comes back well and is showing us the right signs at home, she’ll be back.
“If she’s showing any signs at all that she doesn’t want to do it any more, then she’ll be retired to become a broodmare.”