Cheltenham tips: Ruby Walsh reveals Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle antepost pick

Ruby's cast his expert eye over the Mares' Novices' Hurdle on the third day at Cheltenham.

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Ruby Walsh has run the rule over the contenders for the Mares’ Novices’ 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 pulls out.

Willie Mullins has won the race five times out of five since its first running at the Festival in 2016. Ruby enjoyed success in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle on board Limini and Let’s Dance so it’s fair to say he knows a thing or two.

Speaking on the latest episode of our special ‘Countdown to Cheltenham’ podcast series, our resident jockey-turned-pundit believes there’s little to split the potential runners prominent in the betting.

You can listen to the full show BELOW.

It’s 2m and 1f on the New Course at Cheltenham. If they go quick you can come from a long way back. Willie Mullins trains most of his horses for this Meeting and he’ll bring as many as he can and as many as he thinks can run well.

HOOK UP ran well behind Appreciate It at Leopardstown. She came from a long way back and finished just behind Ballyadam and Blue Lord. It could be an indicator of strong form.

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It wouldn’t look an ideal track for ECHOES IN RAIN as she’s quite a keen front-runner, it’ll be on the short side for FINEST EVERMORE while GLENS OF ANTRIM is still a maiden. I don’t think Willie will have the same number he’s had in other years.

If you ran this month’s Mares Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse again, you could quite easily get a different result. ROSEYS HOLLOW beat ROYAL KAHALA and GAULOISE but I don’t think there’s that much between those three.

I think the nine-pound swing will be huge for Royal Kahala. I was a bit surprised when she got beaten but Roseys Hollow got the run of the race. I wouldn’t be shocked if Royal Kahala turned it around. Gauloise came home well but she was always a length behind and never got any closer. It’s very open and we don’t have entries so you’re slightly guessing.

It’ll be interesting to see who Paul Townend goes for. If I was riding, based on form, I would pick Hook Up but I do have a preference for Royal Kahala. I thought she was very good when she beat Hook Up in January.

Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Bet Summary – Thursday, March 18

Ruby Walsh – Royal Kahala

*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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