Cheltenham Festival – Mares Hurdle: Outsider of the big three looks the call

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IT looks a vintage renewal of the Mares Hurdle, Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) unravels it for us.

Cheltenham 16:10 | Mares Hurdle | ITV1

The OLBG Mares Hurdle has been dominated by Willie Mullins since it was introduced to the Festival and once again he has a very strong hand here. There was a lot of uncertainty over who he would send for the race and in the end he opted to send both of his big guns which raised a few eyebrows.

Limini was a good novice last year and was the most impressive winner of the Mares Novice Hurdle at the festival. She then picked up place money in Grade 1’s at the end of the summer before returning with a smooth victory over Apples Jade.

She has been a short price for the race since and connections decided against supplementing her for the Champion Hurdle, so she has to be seen as the one to beat here.

Questionable Vroum Vroum move

Vroum Vroum Mag won this last year and held entries in almost every championship race until the weekend. I thought she may take her chances in the Champion Hurdle but connections decided to let her defend her crown. I don’t understand this move. With Walsh on Limini I worry that Vroum Vroum Mag has maybe not been showing much in her work at home and I’m swerving her here.

Apple’s Jade is an ex Willie Mullins inmate who is 1-1 in meetings with her former stablemates this season. She was well beaten by Limini last time, however I’m not convinced she was fully wound up and she also done a lot of the donkey work so I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt.

She has placed in all nine starts and her best performance have been in spring so I see her as a fantastic each way bet here at the prices available.

Best Bets

Mares Hurdle – Apple’s Jade each way (4/1 10BET)

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I grew up watching Hearts games with my dad and playing football at every opportunity so betting on it was the logical next step! Football coupons became a Saturday ritual and it introduced me into the world of horse racing. I started watching it on a regular basis, and after Galileo's Derby win in 2001 I was hooked. I follow both flat and national hunt racing attending the northern meetings when possible.

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