The last time State Man was a winner last time he was here in the Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle to end last season and proved it was no fluke with another magical run on day two of the Winter Festival. "He jumped well and didn't miss out any hurdles. He galloped all the way to the line and I liked the way he beat Sharjah, who had been working quite well at home. "He jumped the first quite big and then got down a bit. He'll be better in a better race. It'll probably be Christmas, then back to the Dublin Racing Festival and Cheltenham." Lucy Wadham, meanwhile, sends Martello Sky on a fact-finding mission to Kempton on Monday. The six-year-old made a solid start to the new season when beaten just over a length by Molly Ollys Wishes at Wetherby last month, having dropped back to two miles for her first run since March. Winner of six of her 10 races over hurdles and eight from 14 overall, her Newmarket handler is keen to try her in staying company in a bid to define potential targets later in the campaign. Martello Sky, who scored in Listed company at Sandown in January, tests the water over an extended three miles in the Racing TV Mares' Hurdle and renews rivalry with Dan Skelton's Molly Ollys Wishes, with the Paul Nicholls-trained Miranda the only other runner. "It was a good start to the season. I was really happy. On another day, I thought she might have won. It was close enough," said Wadham. "We have been sort of intending to step her up in trip, although it is slightly dramatic stepping her up from two to three (miles). It will help us decide what we will do next. "She has worked and run her races like she will stay further. The family as a whole, two and a half has been their limit, but I think it is worth a crack to see. If we feel she doesn't stay, then we will know what we are doing for the rest of the season." Prior to Wetherby, Martello Sky's previous six races have been over distances around two and a half miles, but if handling the extra distance, more options will be open to her. Wadham added: "What we thought is we would possibly go for the Close Bothers' Mares' Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham on December 10 and if she looked like she stayed three miles on Monday, we might go for the (Grade Two) Warfield Mares' Hurdle (at Ascot) in January. "We will probably keep her in mares' company. She is a cracking little mare and has been brilliant for us. I don't think we will be going chasing, though. She is not the biggest. We will keep her hurdling."
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