Cheltenham Tips: Frank Hickey’s best antepost bets for the Mares Novice Hurdle including a 14/1 shout

Frank is eyeing Party Central in the Mares Novice Hurdle.

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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 Novice Hurdle and top trader Frank Hickey is refusing to rule out one Gordon Elliott runner.

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FRANK HICKEY:

“Party Central was just touched off by Grangee in the Grade 2 mares bumper at the Dublin Racing Festival last February and followed that win a listed bumper win at Fairyhouse. She won on her hurdles debut over 2m4f at Listowel. She was well beaten in a Grade 3 at Down Royal when 11/10 favourite but the way she stopped after travelling well suggests something may have been amiss. She did jump into the back of Glan and maybe Davy minded her.

“She bounced back to win a Listed mares hurdle at Punchestown last month over 2m3f, again travelling like much the best. The time compared well to the two handicap hurdles on the card also. The 2m1f trip on the new course will really suit her and I don’t think she can be discounted. Before then she might run in the mares handicap hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival, as she has a mark of 121.

“Impervious won her first three starts over hurdles, the first in Cork over 2m3f in August. She then followed up in Listowel over 2m4f, where she beat the 131 rated Ballywilliam Boy. She won that Grade 3 in Down Royal where Party Central went off favourite and was impressive but with Party Central underperforming, maybe that performance wasn’t quite as good as perhaps it looked at the time.

“She went off a 3/1 shot for the Royal Bond and wasn’t disgraced in being beaten 6l in 5th. The 3rd and 4th from the Royal Bond were 1st and 3rd in the Grade 1 at Leopardstown over Christmas. She’s not been seen since but she retains potential and couldn’t be discounted either.

“I thought Nurse Susan was very impressive on her hurdles debut at Carlisle when beating the geldings. 2nd did win since to give that form some sort of a solid look. It was two seconds quicker than the 0-120 handicap hurdle on the card. She followed up at Leicester, beating Zabeel Champion who had won his hurdles debut and was rated 104 on the flat. She’s rated 123, so might tackle a handicap en-route to the mares novice, though she does have an entry at Lingfield next Friday.

“Gypsy Island looked top class when winning her bumper debut at Ballinrobe, beating the now 135 rated Getaway Gorgeous. In November 2018 she was beaten a length in a maiden hurdle at Navan and at the time I was very disappointed, as I thought she was top class but she was given an awful lot to do being held up miles of the pace and couldn’t quite get there. The winner that day was Put The Kettle On, so in hindsight it was a massive effort.

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“She bolted up in three bumpers the following spring including the Grade 3 mares bumper at the Punchestown Festival (Daylite Katie, Minella Melody, Yukon Lil, Jeremy’s Flame and Heaven Help Us all behind). She was off the track for two years and returned at Tipperary last May in a 2m mares maiden hurdle and wasn’t very flashy winning by 1.5l when a 1/5 shot. The 2nd that day was the now 127 rated Annie G (listed hurdle winner at Galway) and Gypsy Island was conceding 8lb to her. She is now eight years old and don’t know if she will get there but were she to turn up, then she would have to be considered.

“Brides Hill has had 12 starts over hurdles since her debut just over a year ago. She started off in handicaps off a mark of 100 in March but her win in a strong handicap at Leopardstown off 121 puts her in the mix. She won by 7.5l and the right horses were in behind her. She’s not usual profile you would expect to win this but that last performance was impressive and Gavin Cromwell proved last year with Flooring Porter what he could achieve with a horse improving through handicaps.

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“Allegorie De Vassy, Dinoblue and Brandy Love are all full of potential but Statuaire has achieved the most of these to date and probably is the one that should be a little shorter but I have no idea where she ranks in Willie’s pecking order. Statuaire beat My Mate Mozzie at Fairyhouse in November which looks solid form. Whether she can uphold that at Cheltenham I’m not sure. If she turns up and runs in the Mares Novice Hurdle, she’s worth a shout.

“The other one I would be keeping a close eye on is Party Central. I wouldn’t be giving up on her. She is one that will appreciate the stiff 2m1f. If I was having a bet right now, I’d probably go with Party Central.”

    *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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