Willie Mullins Has A Number Of Potential Chances In The Mares Hurdle At The Cheltenham Festival
The Mares’ Hurdle looks wide open this year ahead of the Cheltenham Festival. Not necessarily down to lack of a clear leader in the division, but more so who fancies taking on Buveur D’Air in the Champion Hurdle. With the market unclear, and trainer’s giving away nothing, let’s look at who’s in contention should they run.
Apple’s Jade 8/11
Apple’s Jade has been in the form of her life, obliterating fields with ease. She’s beaten most of the mares in this division and all the boys she’s come up against too. Should Gordon Elliot send her to the Mare’s Hurdle, she looks the one to be on. However, with her form better than ever, it’s probably time she stepped up for the Champion Hurdle. Otherwise it looks a three way battle for that event.
Laurina’s form column is just about perfect. There is question as to the quality of opposition, but you can only beat what is put in front of you. Punters will really want to see Apple’s Jade vs Laurina. The two stars of the Mares’ division look likely to battle it out – but probably in the Champion Hurdle. Laurina was last seen out midweek in Punchestown, racing clear past stablemate, Stormy Ireland, without breaking a sweat.
Benie Des Dieux 11/8
Perhaps the genuine favourite with connections not interested in the Champion Hurdle. Benie Des Dieux hasn’t been seen since winning at last year’s Punchestown Festival. The lack of a run may be a concern but it’s not like Willie Mullins hasn’t had a horse prepped for Cheltenham Festival without a run before. She has Cheltenham form, beating a less than standard field at last year’s festival.
Limini was fancied to be the new stable star and take Rich Ricci’s famous pink silks to Champion Hurdle success. However, progress has faltered somewhat, and she’s been behind some average horses in the lead up to the festival. It would take something special to win it.
Stormy Ireland 7/1
Interesting prospect that didn’t do a lot wrong behind Laurina at Punchestown midweek. However, the way Laurina swept around the bend and put daylight between horses suggested she is not of the calibre to win this race. Will surely only be in contention should the big guns go to the Champion Hurdle.
Lady Buttons 14/1
Lady Buttons also has an entry in the Queen Mother Chase over fences where she is 40/1 and will surely be outclassed. Over hurdles, she hasn’t beaten many horses of note and looks hard to back. Her form can’t be ignored however, 1s win races.
Mias Storm 12/1
Had a successful spell over the jumps before reverting to hurdles. Unbeaten since returning but has been running over longer distances, an interesting potential entry but probably best watched.
Missy Tata 12/1
Missy Tata looks an absolute steal at 12/1. Won at Fairyhouse in a poor race in early February but that was her first time on a track for 777 days. She would have needed the run. Ideally, we’d see her more than once after such a long break. Jockeys booking will be interesting. If back to her prime, has a great chance and looks terrific value each way.
Best of the rest
Whilst this looks the best field set to go in the Mares’ Hurdle for some time, the rest of the market doesn’t offer a great deal. Apple’s Shakira and Good Thyne Tara are worth a look when at their best in the middle of the market. Mega Yeats arrives in good form for those looking to back a big price.