The OLBG Mares’ Hurdle is a relatively new event to the Cheltenham Festival which has been around since just 2008 but has seen some really talented winners (and losers) over the years and served up one of the finishes of the Festival last year when Apple’s Jade edged out both Vroum Vroum Mag and Limini, below we will analyse key stats and trends which can help us pick the winner and you can view our Mares’ Hurdle tips here.
Mares’ Hurdle Trends
- Mullins domination – Willie Mullins has won 8 of the 10 renewals
- Some ages prosper – Five and seven year olds have won six of the 10 renewals
- Favourites do well – 9 favourites out of 10 have won
- Walsh is wonderful – Ruby Walsh has won this seven times, six more than any other
Trends – Key Runners
Apple’s Jade ❌❌✅❌
Benie Des Dieux ✅✅❌✅
Let’s Dance ✅❌❌✅
La Bague Au Roi ❌✅❌❌
*all Mullins runners could be ridden by Ruby Walsh..
The Mares’ Hurdle is a young race so the trends aren’t quite as in depth as the likes of the Champion Hurdle but one theme is extremely clear when looking at the evidence so far, Willie Mullins is pretty hard to beat. With that taken into consideration all his runners should be taken seriously.
Gordon Elliot wrested control from the Mullins camp when Apple’s Jade fended off the Rich Ricci battalions after the last to snap an eight year winning streak in the race for the Mullins team and she looks to have every chance of retaining her crown. Michael O’Leary is not one to change his mind and has stated on multiple occasions this will be her target once again and it is very difficult to pick holes in her chances. She has really flourished since her day in the limelight at the Festival and has won three Grade 1’s including when beating last year’s ill-fated Stayers’ Hurdle winner Nichols Canyon and subsequent Irish Champion Hurdle winner Supasundae. There are a fair few short price favourite who are being talked up as bankers but Apple’s Jade probably best fits that label, she has done nothing wrong and will be an extremely tough nut to crack.
The betting is very much dominated by Mullins and Elliott and two Rich Ricci owned mares who are prominent are Benie Des Dieux and Let’s Dance. The former has been a revelation over fences so far and is unbeaten in three starts, she was potentially going to be aimed at the Ryanair but her trainer thought a lack of experience may catch her out so she reverts to hurdles for this, she is clearly mega talented but has not raced over hurdles since moving to Ireland and that is a slight concern. Mullins was positive about her chances, but not so last year’s Mares Novice winner Let’s Dance, who was last seen finishing a disappointing fifth in the Galmoy Hurdle over three miles behind Presenting Percy. She was very well beaten that day and never looked to be going as well as she can, her trainer seemed disappointed to say the least and her participation at the Festival is far from certain.
The main English contender at this stage seems to be Warren Greatrex’s La Bague Au Roi who is a remarkable ten from thirteen in all rules races and has only been beaten twice in nine starts over hurdles. She is an ultra consistent mare who won the Grade 2 Mares’ Hurdle at Ascot last time by a remarkable sixteen lengths from some reasonable rivals, there is a concern that she has only tackled Grade 1 company once and was beaten and finished only seventh at last year’s Festival with Let’s Dance well ahead but she has improved plenty this year and should have an each way squeak at worst.
For more trends articles, previews, tips and other content head over to our Cheltenham Festival tips section.