Mares Hurdle Tips - 4:10pm Cheltenham

2019 Mares Hurdle Preview

The Mares Hurdle was established in 2008 and it was won by Donald McCain’s Whiteoak, since then the prize has gone to Ireland on ten consecutive occasions. Willie Mullins and Quevega won six on the bounce and the Irish maestro won it last year with the 7yo Benie Des Dieux.

This year’s renewal has had a few twists and turns already, connections of the long-time ante-post favourite Apples Jade decided half way through the season that will go for the Champion Hurdle instead.

It’s a bold move but you can’t blame them, she won this race in 2017 and was a hot favourite to retain her crown twelve months ago only to come in season and run disappointingly to finish third. She may never be in this sort of form again and while if she did run here she would be hard to beat the carrot of the really big prize is just too big.

A similar scenario applies to Laurina trained by Willie Mullins, she is unbeaten in five starts since she came over from France and two of those victories have come in the big Mares Hurdle races at the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals.

If she was to line up here she would be hard to beat but the connections fancy her to run a big race against the boys in the Champion Hurdle.

With Apples Jade and Laurina out of the way it appears to have left the door well and truly open for last year’s winner Benie Des Dieux although that is not perfectly straight forward either.

Unbeaten in five starts since she came over from France but has had a very fragmented career. Her first three races were spread over two years and were over fences. Her first run over hurdles in this country was in this race twelve months ago.

That day she was held up out the back and challenged between the last two hurdles, she got up in a thrilling finish to beat Midnight Tour and Apples Jade. A month later she bettered that effort by winning the Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown and came home 3 lengths clear of Augusta Kate.

We haven’t seen her since last April but we shouldn’t  be too surprised as Mullins used very similar tactics too great effect with Quevega all those years.

Mullins also has Limini in the line-up who was third here in 2017 and was the winner of the Mares Novice Hurdle the year before. I think its fair to say she hasn’t really lived up to early expectations but she’s a useful mare and will continue to pick up plenty of prize money.

Stormy Ireland and Elimay and two more from the Mullins conveyor belt who could run well. The former was a good second to the useful Espoir D’Allen at limerick last time and could benefit with the extra distance of this race.

Elimay was a decent performer in France and has only had one run since joining her current yard. She ran with plenty of credit behind stablemate Good Thyne Tara that day and she was coming back after a 420 day lay-off so a bit of improvement is on the cards.

The English challenge is not that strong and Mia’s Storm is probably the best of them. Trained by Alan King the 9yo went novice chasing last term and although that started well two heavy falls later have made connections think twice about that and this season has reverted back to the smaller obstacles.

She has won both starts at Uttoxeter and Kempton this season and her mark of 148 entitles her to have a stab at this contest, her first time at the Festival.

Dan Skelton has an outside chance with Roksana, she’s only had six starts over hurdles and won three of them. Last time out she pinched a bit of prize money when chasing home Buveur d’Air and Vision Des Flos in the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown. She was only beaten 11 lengths so it was a very respectable effort. She has a bit to find on official figures but could go well at a big price.

Jester Jet has been supplemented for the race late on and trainer Tom Lacey thinks quite a bit about this 9yo. She won last time out at Haydock and rarely runs a bad race. The same comment can be applied to Lady Buttons who goes here instead of the Arkle Chase. She has won four races this season and is the apple of trainer Phil Kirby's eye and if she could run into a place it would bring the house down.

 

Punters Lounge Tip: Benie Des Dieux 15/8 at Bet365 : Click Here To Bet

 

Mares Hurdle Trends
Mares Hurdle Previous Winners
YearWinnerAgeJockeyTrainerSP
2019Roksana7Harry SkeltonDan Skelton10/1
2018Benie Des Dieux7Ruby WalshWillie Mullins9/2
2017Apple's Jade5Bryan CooperGordon Elliott7/2
2016Vroum Vroum Mag7Ruby WalshWillie Mullins4/6
2015Glens Melody7Paul TownendWillie Mullins6/1
2014Quevega10Ruby WalshWillie Mullins8/11
2013Quevega9Ruby WalshWillie Mullins8/11
2012Quevega8Ruby WalshWillie Mullins4/7
2011Quevega7Ruby WalshWillie Mullins5/6
2010Quevega6Ruby WalshWillie Mullins6/4
2009Quevega5Ruby WalshWillie Mullins2/1

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