OLGB Mares’ Hurdle (Cheltenham) Betting Tips & Preview – Tuesday 13th March 2018

The fifth race on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival sees some of the finest mares compete over two and a half miles for this Grade 1 title. The winner will receive a trophy named in memory of David Nicholson who was a both a successful jockey and National Hunt trainer.

Gordon Elliot had a couple of other possibilities for Apple’s Jade for this year’s Festival but decided that she will be given the chance to retain her crown in this race. She’s the odds-on favourite to do just that and it’s hard to see who will be able to stop the extremely talented mare.

Top Tips

Apple’s Jade to win @ 8/13

Jer’s Girl each way @ 16/1

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Race Information

We’re in for a very muddy opening day of racing at the Cheltenham Festival with Tuesday’s going expected to be heavy. There’s only nine runners competing in this Mares’ Hurdle renewal, the smallest field since the race began in 2008. Vroum Vroum Mag was initially one of the main contenders for the race but the decision was taken last week to retire Willie Mullins’ star mare.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Heavy 2m 3f 200y 1 £120,000 9 1/5 1-3

Recent Winners

There has only been one surprise result in this race, the inaugural run in 2008 which was won by 20/1 shot Whiteoak. Since then there hasn’t been a single winner priced over 6/1.

Quevega always enjoyed her time in this race and the French-bred mare claimed victory on five consecutive occasions between 2009 and 2013. An incredible record which may never be matched.

2017 Apple’s Jade 7/2 Gordon Elliot Bryan Cooper
2016 Vroum Vroum Mag 4/6 Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh
2015 Glens Melody 6/1 Willie Mullins Paul Townend
2014 Quevega 8/11 Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh
2013 Quevega 8/11 Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh

Analysis: Apple’s Jade to Remain Queen of the Mares

La Bague Au Roi has received a few tips for this race following her fine form this season. She’s managed three victories so far, the last coming in emphatic style at Ascot when competing at just under three miles. This was her second strong showing around the three mile mark so it’s a slight surprise she’s been preferred for a shorter trip. With this not looking like her ideal distance, she could find it tough to trouble Apple’s Jade.

Benie Des Dieux is who the bookies think has the best chance of toppling the favourite. Willie Mullins has a fine record in this race (8 wins from 10) and his entries must always be taken seriously. The experienced trainer won’t min the rain for this one as his mare won in the mud at Naas last month. The seven-year-old has made just one graded start though and the step up in class could prove to be too much.

Apple’s Jade to win

Gordon Elliot wouldn’t have been hoping for this much rain at Cheltenham but Apple’s Jade shouldn’t let testing conditions get in her way. She did lose on her last outing on heavy going, beaten by Limini at Punchestown but the six-year-old has improved a great deal since. Elliot’s mare hasn’t lost since the race at Punchestown and is enjoying a five race unbeaten streak. Four have been over this distance and she looks set to assert her dominance in a field which isn’t the strongest we’ve seen in this race.

Jer’s Girl each way

She fell in this race last year but looks capable of making amends this time around with a placed finish. The six-year-old pushed La Bague Au Roi all the way at Kempton in November and wasn’t too far from Apple’s Jade at Navan two weeks prior. Heavy going doesn’t look like hindering her chances based on her performance at Roscommon in September and so she makes for a tempting each way option.

Final Verdict

Nobody on the racecard looks to have the beating of Apple’s Jade who has been paired up with jockey Jack Kennedy. The combination worked so well in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle win and more success for them should be expected. Jer’s Girl would need plenty of fortune to beat the favourite but finishing in the top three does not seem out of reach if she handles the Cheltenham fences better this time.

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