Mares' Hurdle Ante-Post Odds: De Bromhead to taste more Cheltenham Festival success

Henry De Bromhead

Going from strength to strength since its inception in 2008, the Mares' Hurdle has become one of the highlights of the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, and we take a look at the ante-post odds for the race here, and pick out our best bet for the Grade 1 contest...

Henry De Bromhead saddled the superstar mare Honeysuckle to glory in the Mares' Hurdle two years ago, and while his leading challenger TELMESOMETHINGGIRL may not be in the same stratosphere as that unbeaten luminary, the seven-year-old has shown to be a really smart performer in Graded company, and she is currently the 9/2 favourite for the 2m 3f 200y contest.

She showed her class at last year's Cheltenham Festival, as she bounded to a dominant five-and-a-half length victory in the Mares' Novices' Hurdle, and now set to return to the scene of her career highlight she is going to be very tough to beat, if in similar form. Yet to taste victory since, she was well beaten by the top notch gelding Galopin Des Champs in a Grade 1 novice hurdle at the Punchestown Festival, while this season she was fifth on her comeback in Listed company, before finishing a decent third behind Royal Kahala in a Grade 3 at Leopardstown.

However, while she finished behind both Royal Kahala and Heaven Help Us, who could both feature in the Mares' Hurdle on March 15, she was forced to give significant weight away to those rivals, so off level weights at Prestbury Park in March, she should comfortably be able to turn that form around. While her win in the Mares' Novice last season was over 2m 1f, she should have no problems with the extra distance in the Mares' Hurdle, and with the likelihood of good to soft spring ground come race day, she can show why she has been installed as ante-post favourite, and duly record her second festival win.

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Cheltenham Tips

Willie Mullins has a sensational record in this contest having saddled the winner a whopping nine times, and the master of Closutton is sure to unleash a strong battalion yet again, and he currently holds eight of the 28 entries. Spearheading the team is likely to be Stormy Ireland, who was last seen bounding up the Cheltenham hill to claim glory in the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle. Well beaten by Honeysuckle in the 2020 Mares' Hurdle, Stormy Ireland looks to be a better mare these days, and her win in the Cleeve means she has to be respected at 7/1.

Burning Victory benefited from the last flight fall of Goshen to claim victory in the 2020 Triumph Hurdle, but the Mullins mare failed to kick on from that juvenile Grade 1 win, and was last seen being comfortably beaten by stablemate Klassical Dream over three miles at Christmas, so she may not take her chance, and the 12/1 is worth letting go. Heavily fancied for last season's contest, Concertista was edged out by Black Tears, and Concertista is as big as 14/1 to go one better in the 2022 contest. However, she's been impressive over fences on her last two starts, and she could be another that doesn't line up.

Third in the betting at 8/1 is the abovementioned Royal Kahala, who lowered the colours of Telmesomethinggirl last time out for Peter Fahey, but as mentioned previously she was in receipt of weight, so will face a tougher test in the Mares' Hurdle. Ninth in last season's Mares' Novices' Hurdle, Fahey's charge will need to put in a considerably better display at the 2022 festival, and she could well be best being ignored here.

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Potentially the biggest danger to Telmesomethinggirl is the Paul Hennessy-trained Heaven Help Us, who was a shock winner of the Coral Cup at last season's Cheltenham Festival, and this front-running mare is sure to run a huge race at 9/1. She found life tough in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham back in December, where she finished fourth, but she improved on that run when being beaten a neck by Royal Kahala at Leopardstown, and a return to Cheltenham is sure to bring out the best in her. A sparkling lead-all-the-way display last season propelled her into the limelight, but she is a real classy performer, and she looks a solid each-way play in the field.

Of the others, Paul Nolan's Mrs Milner is another Cheltenham Festival winner lining up, and she was superb en route to Pertemps Final glory last season, but the drop back from three miles could be a hindrance, and the 14/1 is worth letting go. 2020 Martin Pipe winner Indefatigable (20/1) is a solid performer, but she may just lack the class of some of the fancied contenders here, while Queens Brook (16/1) and Elle Est Belle (33/1) are another brace of entries worthy of a second look, and Queens Brook in particular could play a part if emulating her fine third behind Ferny Hollow in the 2020 Champion Bumper.

2022 Mares' Hurdle
Telmesomethinggirl silk


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