Cheltenham Tips: A 20/1 shout tops Frank Hickey’s best antepost bets for the Mares’ Hurdle

Frank reckons there's some value in the market with Willie Mullins' Finest Evermore.

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*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing / Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason – you will lose your stake under traditional Antepost rules

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The From The Horse’s Mouth team took a close look at the Mares’ Hurdle and top trader Frank Hickey has a trio of runners in mind as Cheltenham edges closer.

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FRANK HICKEY:

    “This is a fairly weak renewal of this race and there’s no major standouts in terms of being miles above the rest. Telmesomethinggirl is rated 142 and is a worthy favourite as things stand. She obviously was an impressive winner of the Mares Novice Hurdle last season and I thought she ran a lovely race behind Royal Kahala and Heaven Help Us in the Grade 3 mares race over 2m4f at Leopardstown at Christmas.

    “She was beaten 1.25 lengths but was giving 5lb to Royal Kahala and 8lbs to Heaven Help Us. I also liked the fact that plenty of Henry De Bromhead’s horses ran below form over Christmas but she ran really well. However, if say Concertista runs, she would probably be the instant favourite due to her rating.

    “Heaven Help Us might have work to do to uphold the form but she hasn’t won the cheekpieces she wore last season when her form improved. If for any reason Stormy Ireland didn’t make the race, it would definitely increase Heaven Help Us’ chance. They both like to get going in front and dictate the race.

    “Burning Victory, Finest Evermore and Queens Brook would be my shortlist at the moment. However, I’d be careful about what is being aimed for this and what might go the handicap route.

    “Burning Victory only rated 143 and she was a fortunate winner of the Triumph Hurdle when staying on strongly. She has only had four hurdles starts since. She was well beaten behind Stormy Ireland at Punchestown but that was her first start in over a year. She wasn’t disgraced in the Galway Hurdle when beaten seven lengths in 7th but she didn’t jump great.

    “She jumped poorly again in a 3m handicap hurdle at Navan in early December. However, she did have a good run in the Grade 1 3m hurdle at Leopardstown at Christmas when 3rd behind Klassical Dream and Flooring Porter. She did travel well into the race and jumped much better. Of course, she was second to Buzz in the Cesarewitch off 98, so she has the ability to win this if her jumping holds up.

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    “Queens Brook was third in the Champion Bumper in 2020 behind Ferny Hollow and Appreciate It. She was a bit disappointing last season over hurdles when just winning on her debut at Fairyhouse when 2/7. The 2nd is now rated 139 and 3rd is rated 132. She then had a head second to Skyace in a Grade 3 at Down Royal over 2m. That form obviously looks much better now than it did at the time.

    “Her season ended with a poor effort in a mares Grace 2 at Fairyhouse behind Concertista. She was beaten on her reappearance at Wexford by Lunar Display. She was quite impressive when dispatching Ciel De Niege and Skyace at Fairyhouse in November. She’s only had seven career starts under rules and could easily improve enough to get involved.

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    Finest Evermore, rated 137, won her first three starts for Willie Mullins, a bumper and two hurdle races, including winning a Novice Hurdle at Listowel in September 2020, winning by 13 lengths from the 131 rated Lynwood Gold, 134-rated Saint D’oroux and 138-rated Jackson’s Gold.

    “She was 8/13 to win at Listed level in December 2020 but was only third behind Skyace. I assume she was injured as she was off the track for a year after that. She ran a lovely race on her return behind Royal Kahala, Heaven Help Us and Telmesomethingirl at Leopardstown last time, staying on well to be fourth. The worry is that she is potentially well treated and could go to a handicap like the the Coral Cup instead.”

    *Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing / Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason – you will lose your stake under traditional Antepost rules

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