Maya Charli scores Atlanta stakes win

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Kingfisher Farm’s Maya Charli put her front-running skills to good use Saturday, taking the $30,000 Georiga Cup filly/mare hurdle stakes for trainer Jack Fisher and jockey Sean Flannagan.

The gray daughter of Cozzene, who had to dip into the claiming ranks to break her maiden last May, picked up her second stakes victory since making the conversion to jumps in 2011. Bred by the John Nerud Revocable Trust, she made eight flat starts – winning a New York-bred turf maiden at Belmont Park for Anstu Stable and trainer Todd Pletcher in 2010. Over jumps, she’s won three of her last six after losing her first eight starts. Saturday, she aired by 7 lengths over Kisser N Run with The Grey Express third.

Jonathan Sheppard continued his quick start to the season with a double. Martini Brother won a maiden hurdle and Powerofone scored in an optional claimer to improve to 2-for-2 this year. Darren Nagle rode both winners for owner Bill Pape. Riverdee Stable’s Apese (Robbie Walsh) won the maiden claimer for trainer Richard Valentine with Alburj (Bernie Dalton) closing the day with a training flat win for trainer Janet Elliot.

Sheppard and Nagle are quickly running away with the leaderboard at six wins apiece (four more than their nearest rivals) while Pape leads the owner board with five wins and $81,500 in earnings.

After getting blanked at My Lady’s Manor, the TIHR handicappers found some winners at Atlanta with Joe and Tom each tripling on the day. Tom selected Apse, Martini Brother and Alburj while Joe had Martini Brother, Powerofone and Alburj. Sean came up with two, Martini Brother and Alburj. For the year, the race is tight, with Joe (10 wins) leading Tom (nine) and Sean (seven).