Cheltenham tips: Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle antepost picks from Frank Hickey

Frank has got you covered for the Mares' Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival

Frank Hickey The Glancing Queen

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change

Frank Hickey has given his take on the Daylesford Mares’ Novice Hurdle ahead of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival – where Paddy Power is offering non-runner money back on all 28 races so there’s no risk of losing out if your pick withdraws.

Speaking on the latest episode of Paddy Power’s special ‘Countdown to Cheltenham’ podcast, our expert trader offered his opinion on what is expected to be a highly competitive Grade 2 contest over 2m1f on the New Course at Prestbury Park.

You can listen to the full show BELOW.

ROYAL KAHALA definitely looked to outstay Hook Up over 2m2f at Fairyhouse when she beat her but Hook Up made a bad mistake at the last that day and lost all her momentum. Royal Kahala was conceding 2lbs that day but I don’t think there is too much between the pair.

Royal Kahala was slightly disappointing when second in the Solerina Mares Hurdle at Fairyhouse but she was conceding 4lbs to Rosey’s Hollow. She wasn’t at her best but she wasn’t disgraced and was only beaten by two lengths. She has every chance and is joint-favourite in a wide open race.



ROSEY’S HOLLOW is trained by Jonathon Sweeney, who is a very capable trainer with a small string down near Rathcormac in County Cork. He doesn’t have too many runners but in the last five year’s he’s had 12 winners from 64 runners – a 19 per cent strike rate – which is very impressive.

This horse is really progressing, having won a Cork bumper in March 2019. She had a year off the track before coming third on her hurdles debut last March at Leopardstown behind Jon Snow and Fakiera, with Dinny Lacey, Shanroe and Whirling Dervish all behind.

She shaped okay on reappearance at Naas when fourth behind Delvino, Castrea Vetera and Royal Illusion but did shape like she would improve for the run. She bolted up at Fairyhouse, beating Global Equity by four lengths – Global Equity was just touched off in the Dublin Racing Festival Mares’ Handicap Hurdle off 121 and was second in a listed mares hurdle at Navan at the weekend.

Rosey’s Hollow improved again to win the Solerina Hurdle at Fairyhouse, which has been a decent pointer to this race over the years. The problem is she will carry a 5lb penalty at Cheltenham – the first three horses to win this race all carried a 5lb penalty but the two most recent have not. It will make things more difficult, and I don’t think she is capable of dealing with a 9lb swing against the likes of Royal Kahala.

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GAULOISE won her first two runs for Willie Mullins, including a Listed mares novice hurdle at Thurles, but he was found out behind Rosey’s Hollow and Royal Kahala last time and probably isn’t good enough.

HOOK UP was third on her hurdles debut on first start for Willie in the Grade 3 juvenile hurdle at Fairyhouse last February. Burning Victory won and went on to win the Triumph on her next start, but the Triumph was too much for Hook Up on her next start.

She bolted up on reappearance at Fairyhouse over 2m on her reappearance and the second, Gar De Sceaux, won his next start. She was outstayed over 2m2f when second to Royal Kahala and made a bad mistake at the last hurdle but put in a cracking effort when fourth against the geldings in the Grade 1 Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle over 2m at the Dublin Racing Festival. She travelled well in rear but she was a bit flat-footed when the pace quickened two out and stayed on well. Her jumping needs to improve but there will only be two hurdles in the final seven furlongs, which will suit.

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GLENS OF ANTRIM has had three runs for Willie; she was fourth behind Blue Lord at Punchestown on debut over 2m, second when beaten three lengths by Stattler over 2m4f – Stattler was third in a Grade 1 on his next start – and she was then second to Mr Incredible over 2m 3f at Naas. She gives the impression that a strongly run 2m would suit her.

FINEST EVERMORE bolted up on all three starts for Willie prior to disappointing at Punchestown in a Listed mares novice hurdle over 2m4f when she was 8/13 favourite. SKYACE, who was purchased for £600 by John ‘Shark’ Hanlon out of Willies’, won on that occasion. She has has eight starts over hurdles this season, winning her first two and last two. The last two were in Grade 3 company at Down Royal when 66/1 and then under a 6lb penalty in a Listed event at Punchestown. She will go to Cheltenham fresh.

I would be surprised if RIVIERE D’ETEL runs in this. I think she will go in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle considering her mark is 134, but she would get the four-year-old allowance if she did run here. She wasn’t disgraced when third behind Thedevilscoachman in a rated novice hurdle at Navan a couple of weeks ago.

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THE GLANCING QUEEN is very interesting. She was very useful in bumpers – fifth in Envoi Allen’s champion bumper where horses in front of here were Blue Sari, Thyme Hill and Abacadabras and she was only beaten seven lengths in total.

She won the Grade 2 mares bumper at Aintree where she beat Minella Melody easily. She then had nearly a full season off and didn’t reappear until Ferny Hollow’s champion bumper, where she was eighth. That was a cracking effort.

She’s had four starts over hurdles, winning at Warwick and Bangor. She was third in the Challow hurdle, beaten 10 lengths behind Bravemansgame, and was second in a listed hurdle behind Wilde About Oscar at Exeter last week.

Back against mares she could easily be a big player, as she is undefeated in four starts in mares only company, including winning a listed mares bumper at Cheltenham. She is a stayer and I wouldn’t discount her.

PINK SHEETS used to be owned by a colleague of mine and finished second n an Ayr bumper for him. She went to Mick Channon and hammered the now-137-rated Pipesmoker in a Huntingdon bumper. She switched to Mick Quinn, won her last four over hurdles and is a tough front runner. Good ground is important for her though.

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Another worth a small mention is MRS HYDE, who is four from six over hurdles – including beating Verdana Blue at Wetherby in October. She has been off since a third behind Pink Sheets at Newbury in November but on ratings she has a squeak of hitting the frame.

The Glancing Queen is without a doubt the best of the British and with no standout Irish contender in the race, she has every chance. This is a wide open race where it is quite tough to be confident but for me I would tend to lean towards Hook Up and The Glancing Queen fighting out the finish.

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widget, while in-copy odds are accurate at time of publication but subject to change

Frank Hickey’s Mares’ Novice Hurdle bet summary

The Glancing Queen


March 16 – 13.20 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle latest odds and tips

March 16 – 13.55 – Arkle Chase latest odds and tips

March 16 – 15.05 – Champion Hurdle latest odds and tips

March 17 – 13.20 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle latest odds and tips

March 17 – 13.55 – Festival Novices’ Chase latest odds and tips

March 17 – 15.05 – Queen Mother Champion Chase latest odds and tips

March 18 – 13.20 – Marsh Novices’ Chase latest odds and tips

March 18 – 14.30 – Ryanair Chase latest odds and tips

March 18 – 15.05 – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle latest odds and tips

March 19 – 13.20 – Triumph Hurdle latest odds and tips

March 19 – 14.30 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Chase latest odds and tips

March 19 – 15.05 – Gold Cup latest odds and tips

March 19 – 16.15 – Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase latest odds and tips


13.20 – Marsh Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 2m 3f 168y

13.55 – Pertemps Network Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade 3) 2m 7f 213y

14.30 – Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f 127y

15.05 – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y

15.40 – Paddy Power Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade 3) 2m 4f 166y

16.15 – Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 179y

16.50 – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup 3m 2f

*Paddy will be all over your telly box throughout the Cheltenham Festival sponsoring ITV’s live coverage from Prestbury Park – and you can get free and exclusive tipping columns EVERY DAY from Ruby Walsh, Matt Chapman and Mick Fitzgerald here on PP News.

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