OLBG Mares Hurdle Tips - 4.10pm Cheltenham

Leading Contenders

Our OLBG Mares hurdle tips are for the race that was made famous by the Willie Mullins trained Quevega who first won this in 2009 and successfully defended her title five times. The trainer has won it eight times in total and anything he runs should be taken very seriously.

Let’s Dance won the mares’ novice hurdle last year so it wouldn’t surprise anyone if she was the flag bearer for the Mullins yard in this race twelve months on. To be fair she has been a bit disappointing since that victory last March and has been beaten four times in five starts. Her last run was over 3 miles and she blatantly didn’t stay so we can ignore that one.

No doubt she has a bit to prove now but has few options so is likely to run here along with stable mate Augusta Kate. The 7yo was 6th in the Albert Bartlett last season and then went on to beat Let’s Dance in a Grade 1 contest at Fairyhouse.

This season Augusta Kate has been slow to get going but did run well last time out when second to Presenting Percy, again over three miles. She is in the Stayers Hurdle but this trip looks perfect and with doubts about the yards Vroum Vroum Mag she could take her chance.

Benie Des Dieux is an interesting mare, she has been novice chasing since coming over from France and has won all of her starts to date. With no Mares novice chase at the Festival she could be switched to run in this race. If she does tale her chance she will be towards the top of the market.

Mullins could also saddle Lagostovegas a very useful dual-purpose mare. She was a good third in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket in October and then second in Listed company at Naas. Her last run over hurdles was at Listowel when taking a handicap off a mark of 136. She will need to have improved on that but is a nice progressive mare and going the right way.

The ante-post favourite is last year’s winner Apple’s Jade trained by Gordon Elliott and owned by Gigginstown Stud. She looks a street clear of everything else on this season’s form and has won four times since her terrific victory twelve months ago, including three Grade 1 races.

Last time out just to show her versatility she won over three miles from Supasundae and while some are calling for her to run in the Stayers Hurdle, owner Michael O’Leary has stated he will go for the easiest race and this appears to be it.

If she runs she will be very hard to beat and would be the seventh favourite in the last ten years to oblige in this contest, quickly becoming the ‘punters’ race of the whole meeting.

The home side have plenty of runners that could pinch some prize money and Colin’s Sister sets the standard. The Fergal O’Brien mare missed the race last season but comes here with some very solid form in the book. This year she has finished 3rd to Wholestone in the Relkeel Hurdle here and then last time filled the same spot behind Agrapart in the Cleeve Hurdle. A drop back in trip would be no problem and could go well.

La Bague Au Roi is another mare who has been running over three miles recently, she has improved no end this season and has now won her last four starts. Last time out at Ascot she won a Grade 2 contest by 15 lengths showing she doesn’t fear soft ground. She has gone up the ratings by 14lbs this season and has not stopped improving yet.

Trainer Nicky Henderson has a couple of improving sorts in Kayf Grace and Verdana Blue; both have a chance of running well here. Kayf Grace has won two of her four starts over hurdles and has been kept to two miles for now. She promises to improve when she steps up in trip so is an exciting mare.

Verdana Blue has won three races and has more experience. She finished 4th to Let’s Dance in the mares novice hurdle here last season and has been handicapping since. She is another yet to tackle this kind of trip and probably needs to improve to take a hand.

Gavin Cromwell has been making a name for himself over in Ireland and he saddles Jer’s Girl who ran in this last year but came down three out. It was too soon to tell how she would have fared but she was still travelling at the time.

She has had three runs over hurdles this season, all over different distances but her second to Apple’s Jade at Navan was over this trip. Next time she stepped up to three miles and ran with plenty of credit behind La Bague Au Roi and was put away after that to avoid the bad winter ground. She could be interesting back after her break on a better surface and is one of the more likely types.

Dusky Legend is worth a mention as she was second to Limini two years ago in the mares’ novice hurdle and then last season was third to Let’s Dance in the same race. Since then she has been novice chasing without much success and it was interesting that last time out trainer Alan King sent her back hurdling. She ran well enough behind Maria’s Benefit at Doncaster to suggest this may be her short-term target now



OLBG Mares Hurdle Runners



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OLBG Mares Hurdle Trends

OLBG Mares Hurdle Previous Winners

Year Winner Age Jockey Trainer SP
2017 Apple's Jade 5 Bryan Cooper Gordon Elliott 7/2
2016 Vroum Vroum Mag 7 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins 4/6
2015 Glens Melody 7 Paul Townend Willie Mullins 6/1
2014 Quevega 10 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins 8/11
2013 Quevega 9 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins 8/11
2012 Quevega 8 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins 4/7
2011 Quevega 7 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins 5/6
2010 Quevega 6 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins 6/4
2009 Quevega 5 Ruby Walsh Willie Mullins 2/1
2008 Whiteoak 5 Jason Maguire Donald McCain, Jr. 20/1

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