Cheltenham Ready – “I think this could be Willie’s bet of the festival”

Wille Mullins has some decent chances on opening day.

Adrian Wall is back with his weekly ante-post column. This week he will focus on the Mares’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. 

Willie Mullins currently has the first three in the betting for the race in question. Elimay (4-1), Colreevy (5-1) and Benie Des Dieux (5-1) are the current odds at the time of posting.

There are doubts surrounding the participation of both Colreevy and Benie Des Dieux. Colreevy might not even travel over and could be aimed at a big race in Limerick again. She won a Grade One at that venue over Christmas.

She would have to carry a five pound penalty in the Mares Chase. Elimay would only have to carry a three pound penalty. This is because Colreevy is a Grade One winner but Elimay is a Grade Two winner.

Green, white and gold

Owner of Elimay JP McManus knows how to plot a horse for a race on the big day and I think he will be excited. If you take a close look at Elimay’s form, it is incredibly strong and she will take a lot of beating.

She won a Grade Two at Thurles by nine lengths last January, beating some very good mares like Cut The Mustard and Agusta Gold. With course form on her side, it is also worth noting that she finished sixth in the Mares’ Hurdle in 2019.

Elimay has only ran over fences three times so is still very unexposed in this sphere. Her latest effort was hugely eye-catching at Thurles. To finish just three lengths off Allaho, who is rated 162 over fences, is a great feat. And she hit 1.55 in-running that day.

The Mares’ Chase at Cheltenham will represent a big drop in class in terms of opposition. If she can put it up to Allaho, then she should have no bother seeing off everything in this field next month.

I think this could be Willie’s bet of the festival. Take the 4-1 now because I can see her going off much shorter.


If you back any of our selections you can watch them live on the free Racing Post app or racingpost.com. Simply log in to one of your bookmaker accounts and click ‘Watch live’ on the racecards.

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