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Well, well, well, what do we have here? It’s only a brand-spanking new race for the Cheltenham Festival. The Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase looks set to be an exciting addition for 2021 – 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.
Ruby Walsh has taken a keen look at the leading contenders ahead of the inaugural running. Speaking on the latest episode of our special ‘Countdown to Cheltenham’ podcast series, our main man was quick to highlight one of Willie Mullins’ hopefuls and hailed the introduction of a mares’ chase at the Festival.
You can listen to the full show BELOW.
If you get a Grade 1-winning mare over hurdles she becomes a very valuable asset to go to stud with so you’re taking an added risk if you run her over fences. There’s a very good mares’ novice chase programme in Ireland and I rode a couple of very good mares as novices over fences. Benie Des Dieux was one of the few good chasers but she went back over hurdles because there wasn’t the open mares’ chases for her to win.
They’d been mooting this race for a while and I wasn’t surprised it came in. There’s a couple of good mares in this and it should only get stronger in the years to come.
ELIMAY‘s defeat to Allaho in January was her first run since finishing second to Buildmeupbuttercup over hurdles at Punchestown. She improved from that run by beating Shattered Love at Naas earlier this month. Elimay looked outpaced early on but the further that race went the stronger she was looking. She’s tiny but a real character, as brave as a lion. I think she’ll love the trip and the track. I do fancy her.
There’s a Grade 2 chase at Limerick before Cheltenham where COLREEVY will face the same horses she’s been facing this season. Plenty of Willie Mullins’ good mares have gone there instead of Cheltenham and I think that that’s where Colreevy could go. The owners haven’t made that decision yet but they did indicate that’s where they’d like to go.
SHATTERED LOVE beat Cabaret Queen at Clonmel in testing ground last November but I don’t see how she turns the form on Elimay from Naas.
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ROBIN DE CARLOW hasn’t run since she beat PUT THE KETTLE ON at Tipperary in October 2019. I don’t know if she’ll be ready for Cheltenham and it’d be some training performance to get her back. SALSARETTA is the only other one that might join Cabaret Queen, Colreevy and Elimay but she’d have to improve.
Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase Bet Summary – Friday, March 19
Ruby Walsh – Elimay
*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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