Mares' Chase Tips: Why Concertista is the Mullins banker of the Cheltenham Festival

Concertista en route to claiming Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.
Concertista en route to claiming Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.

Willie Mullins will unleash a team jam-packed with talent at the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, and when you think of the Closutton string heading to Prestbury Park you may think of the likes of Galopin Des Champs, Blue Lord, Sir Gerhard or Energumene. While that quartet certainly need to be respected in their chosen races and will be leading contenders, Steve Chambers believes the Mullins banker of the week could come in the Mares' Chase on March 18...

An eight-year-old daughter of Nathaniel, CONCERTISTA has been to the Cheltenham Festival on three occasions, and has duly notched up a brace of seconds and a victory. Runner-up to Eglantine Du Seuil in the 2019 Mares' Novices' Hurdle, Concertisa returned to the same contest 12 months later and duly scooted to a rampant 12-length victory in the 2020 renewal.

Stepping up to two-and-a-half miles at the 2021 festival, the Co. Carlow inmate was just beaten by Black Tears in the Mares' Hurdle, as she failed to land the spoils, when sent off a 10/11 favourite. Now, the Simon Munir and Isaac Souede-owned starlet is set for a fourth visit to the Gloucestershire venue, and this time around she's expected to take her chance in the Mares' Chase on the final day of the meeting.

A race only brought into the race schedule last season, the inaugural event was won by the Mullins-trained Colreevy, and Concertista can maintain the Mullins dominance in the race by landing the prize in 2022. Around a 5/2 mark, at the time of writing, Concertista has made a perfect start to her jumping career, and she looks to be an extremely exciting jumping prospect.

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She was handed a tough task on her chasing debut as she locked horns with last season's Mares' Novices' Hurdle runner-up Magic Daze, but it would be Jeremys Flame from Gavin Cromwell's yard that would be the biggest threat. However, Concertista's class rose to the top and she duly beat Jeremys Flame by half-a-length to grab a Grade 2 prize at Cork back in December.

Remaining in Grade 2 company for her next outing, Concertista produced a more accomplished performance at Limerick three-and-a-half weeks later, as she bound to a four-length victory, when sent off an odds-on shot. With her jumping sure to improve in the lead-up to the Mares' Chase then Concertista is destined to have a huge chance of landing a second Cheltenham Festival victory.

She's been handed a Mares' Hurdle entry, but connections are earmarked on sending her to the Mares' Chase, and with no suitable race between now and the festival it's now all systems go for the event, and she can reign supreme at GL50 once again.

In terms of opposition she will have a notable rival in the shape of last season's Mares' Chase runner-up Elimay, but she has been beaten at short odds twice this season, so can't be trusted at the moment, while the likes of Mount Ida (could run in Cheltenham Gold Cup) and Riviere D'etel (Arkle), who both feature prominently in the betting may not take their chance.

The classy duo of The Glancing Queen and Gin On Lime are two likely challengers and they would be of interest from an each-way perspective, but both lack the class of Concertista, who can excel around the undulations of Cheltenham racecourse again and bag victory.

Concertista to win the Mares' Chase
5/2
Odds correct as of 2022-02-09 11:03 Odds subject to change.
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