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Mares Hurdle Tips - 3:40pm Cheltenham

The Close Brothers Mare’s Hurdle (or the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle as it was formerly known) has only been run thirteen times with Ireland winning eleven of those and Willie Mullins taking nine of those eleven. His super mare Quevega won the race six times on the bounce between 2009 and 2014 and that must go down as one of Willie’s greatest training performances. Honeysuckle took last years race in a right battle with Mullin’s Benie Des Dieux who hasn’t been seen since. The race is run over the old course and the mares will race over 2m 3f 200 yards.

Mullins has five of the twenty three entries here including current favourite Concertista owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede in the familiar double green silks. A comfortable twelve length winner of last season's Mares Novice Hurdle at the Festival, she’s been impressive in winning at Fairyhouse and Leopardstown this season. She is officially rated 6lb inferior to Mullin’s aforementioned Benie Des Dieux who unfortunately has met with a setback so will have to sit out this year's Festival.

Mullins’ other entrants are Great White Shark, Elimay,and My Sister Sarah - all of whom would have a bit to find on form with his more fancied Concertista.

Last years heroine Honeysuckle still has an entry but will rightly be heading for the Champion Hurdle for which she’s now favourite.

The best chance the home team have of wrestling away the Irish domination of this race lies with Dan Skelton’s progressive mare Roksana. Her official mark of 153 puts her right in the mix here. Fourth last year beaten 12 lengths she appears to have improved this season scoring at Wetherby when stepping up in trip to three miles and continuing that progression when staying at the trip to finish a highly credible third in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot to the two best stayers around in Paisley Park and Thyme Hill prior to a comfortable victory at Ascot. She’s not been confirmed for this race yet as the talk after Ascot was that she wouldn’t look out of place in the Stayers Hurdle where she would be able to claim that valuable mares allowance.

Alan King’s The Glancing Queen is an improver but surely goes for the much easier mares novice race than this for which she’s four time’s the price.

Verdana Blue has been a bit disappointing this season and the best of the Nicky Henderson trio may well be Dame De Compagne who's apparently most likley to run here rather than the Mares Chase . Floressa is Seven Barrows' other entry.

I can see this field cutting up and going the way of the all conquering Willie Mullins again with his progressive Concertista.

Punters Lounge Tip: Concertista @ 11/8 at Betfred - Click Here To Bet
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