Mares’ Hurdle tips and runners for Cheltenham Festival 2021

Another win for Willie Mullins on the way?

Concertista Dame De Compagnie Mares' Hurdle

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The Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle has traditionally been a banker for Willie Mullins at the Cheltenham Festival, with the Irish trainer winning nine out of 10 renewals between 2009 and 2018.

Our very own Ruby Walsh rode in eight of those victories on the Old Course at Prestbury Park – six on the legendary Quevega – but the established order has been challenged in recent years.

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Roksana took the spoils for Dan Skelton in 2019 while Henry de Bromhead’s superstar Honeysuckle claimed bragging rights in the 2m4f Grade 1 last season.

Mullins is out for revenge this time around and looks set to saddle the favourite when the runners go to post on the opening day of the 2021 meeting.

Mares’ Hurdle odds

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ConcertistaJan21

Mares’ Hurdle tips

Ruby Walsh: CONCERTISTA has a great chance in the Mares’ Hurdle, however, and is the most likely winner but she’s fairly tight at 11/10. I can see why people are latching on to Concertista because she’s Willie Mullins’ but she hasn’t beaten a Roksana or a Dame De Compagnie yet.

“If one was going to break into the top three it’s probably GREAT WHITE SHARK.”

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Frank Hickey: “We can’t ignore INDEFATIGABLEConsidering how well she goes at Cheltenham, and the fact she won the Martin Pipe off top weight, she definitely has each-way claims.”

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Matt Chapman: “I’m all over ROKSANA here, who has tackled some of the best staying hurdlers this term.”

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Gina Bryce: “The Skelton team could barely be in better form and I think ROKSANA can cap a brilliant season with a second win in this race.”

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Mick Fitzgerald:ROKSANA won this two years ago when she was lucky as leader Benie Des Dieux fell at the last. She is a much better horse now and sets a good standard.”

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Paddy Power: “I fancy BLACK TEARS in an each-way bet. The good track form is key so I think it’s worth a punt.”

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Great White Shark Jason Watson Newmarket October 10, 2020

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Mares’ Hurdle Trainers’ Verdicts

Dan Skelton, trainer of Roksana: “This is the best we’ve ever had her. Her racing this year has been at three miles and we’re dropping back to two and a half because it’s a mares’ race so why not have a go at it again. We think we carry some of the best form into this. Concertista’s going to be hard to beat, she’s the younger one who’s got it laid out ahead of her. But Roksana is consistent, she’s as well as I can have her and like I’ve said all along, she was always going to run in this race until she wasn’t. That rain will have done her the world of good.”

Denise Foster, trainer of Black Tears: “She’s going back to Cheltenham for the third year in a row and we know she likes the place from her two runs there. All her form suggests that she comes to herself in the spring and she had a nice confidence-booster at Punchestown last time. She’s in great from and could reach the frame.”

Willie Mullins, trainer of Concertista, Great White Shark and My Sister Sarah: “Concertista bolted up in the mares’ novice here last year and the longer trip will be no bother to her. We’re expecting her to come out on top again here. Great White Shark ran a cracker here in the Martin Pipe last year and has each-way prospects. My Sister Sarah has had a wind operation since her last run and could be placed at a big price.”

Nicky Henderson, trainer of Dame De Compagnie and Floressa: “It’s going to be a very competitive race with Concertista and I think Roksana’s the one to beat, but we run two good fillies. I was rather hoping for better ground, I walked around yesterday and thought it was quite slow then but they’ve had a whole lot more rain since. I was hoping we’d be getting on to some good ground which would help them.”

Fergal O’Brien, trainer of Dolcita: “I’ve been delighted with her. We always knew she’d come on for the run at Warwick, as we hadn’t had her long after having the wind op. We’re looking forward to it.”

Paul Webber, trainer of Indefatigable: “I’ve been very pleased with her and everything has gone nicely. She’s done a couple of good bits of work away from home, but I am a bit depressed by the 10mm they had on Sunday night. She does want better spring ground, but she’s in good form and always run well there.”

Henry de Bromhead, trainer of Minella Melody: “It’s a tough race, but she’s been moving nicely since she came over and could run a really nice race.”

Harry Fry, trainer of Whitehotchillifili: “She’s got to bounce back after disappointing last time but she was a good winner of a Listed race in January. Obviously she’s got plenty to find with the main protagonists but she was sixth in the mares’ novice hurdle last year and if she finishes in the top six here it would be a very good run.”

All the trainers were speaking to the Racing Post

When is the Mares’ Hurdle?

The Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle takes place on Tuesday March 16, on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival 2021. It’s scheduled to start at 15.40.

Mares’ Hurdle winners at the last five festivals

2020 – Honeysuckle (Horse), Rachel Blackmore (Jockey), Henry de Bromhead (Trainer)

2019 – Roksana, Harry Skelton, Dań Skelton

2018 – Benie Des Dieux, Ruby Walsh, Willie Mullins

2017 – Apple’s Jade, Bryan Cooper, Nicky Henderson

2016 – Vroum Vroum Mag, Ruby Walsh, Willie Mullins

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 16 – 15.40 – Mares’ 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 17 – 16.50 – Champion Bumper 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 ONE SCHEDULE

    13:20 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y

    13.55 – Arkle Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y

    14.30 – Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m 1f

    15.05 – Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y

    15.40 – Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 3f 200y

    16.15 – Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 87y

    16.50 – National Hunt Chase (Grade 2) 3m 5f 201y

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