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Frank Hickey has studied the leading contenders for the inaugural Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase ahead of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival – where Paddy 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 top trader picked through the field in preparation for the first ever running of the 2m4.5f contest on the New Course at Prestbury Park.
You can listen to the full show BELOW.
PUT THE KETTLE ON would be a huge player in this, if she runs. She is six from eight over fences, she is three from three at Cheltenham and she has won against the geldings, including in the Arkle and the Shloer Chase.
She wasn’t capable of beating Chacun Pour Soi at Leopardstown, but he is nearly odds-on for the Champion Chase so there is no disgrace in that effort. She has won over 2.5m so the trip holds no fears and I think she would be the one to beat if she did run here.
If I owned her, I would target this race. I can’t see how she can beat Chacun Pour Soi in the Champion Chase, despite her Cheltenham form, unless he underperforms.
ELIMAY deserves to be favourite in this right now but if Put The Kettle On ended up running here, I wouldn’t be certain that she would go off favourite. She did have a cracking run behind Allaho in the Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase at Thurles and easily accounted for Shattered Love at Naas over 2m.
She is really improving for Willie Mullins and has now won five of her nine starts for him. While she did only finish sixth, beaten by 22 lengths, in the 2019 mares hurdle, she was only five-years-old and was only on her second start for Willie.
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SHATTERED LOVE has course form but is not quick enough and would need heavy ground to have a chance of winning here. A place is the best she can hope for, although for all that she did win the Marsh Chase here in 2018.
ANNIE MC is very useful and rated 149. She is five wins from eight over fences but a small worry would be that her two starts at Cheltenham were a ninth in the Marsh last year and a fifth in the Caspian Caviar this season off 142. She is five from five in mares only company, though. She probably wants soft ground but is the most solid of the English runners.
I would give a mention to HAPPY DIVA. She is 10 but she loves Cheltenham. She was second in the Plate behind Simply The Betts off 149 last year which suggests she can run at around 153 on her best day. She’s not been great this season but was running a decent race in the Paddy Power Gold Cup when she fell two out – that was off a mark of 151. You can definitely make a case for her hitting the frame at a price.
If she runs, Put The Kettle On at 11/2 NRMB is very fair. Happy Diva at 16/1 NRMB is a fair each-way bet as well but she is 25/1 in places and if Kerry Lee indicates she was going here, she could easily hit the frame at a price.
Frank Hickey’s Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase bet summary
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL‘S BIG RACES
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
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL DAY FOUR SCHEDULE
13.20 – JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 179y
13.55 – County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 179y
14.30 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y
15.05 – Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1) 3m 2f 70y
15.40 – St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup 3m 2f 70y
16.15 – Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase (Grade 2) 2m 4f 127y
16.50 – Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f 56y
*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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