Mares' Hurdle 2022 Entries: 28 horses entered for Grade 1 race at Cheltenham Festival
Twenty eight horses have been entered for the Grade 1 Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on March 15, and the nine times-winning trainer Willie Mullins has a whopping eight of those mares entered for the event. We take a look at the runners here for what is set to be a hugely competitive contest...
Having saddled Quevega to a sensational six wins in this race, as well as lifting the trophy with three other mares as well, Willie Mullins knows what it takes to win the Mares' Hurdle, and the Closutton handler has a strong army of mares entered for this year's contest. One of the leading contenders for Mullins could be last year's runner-up Concertista, who had previously won the 2020 Mares' Novices' Hurdle, but with two novice chase wins to her name this season, she could be seen over fences at Prestbury Park.
Runner-up in the 2019 Mares' Hurdle behind Roksana, Stormy Ireland showed the fire still burns bright when she bounded to glory in the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year's Day, and she's currently a 7/1 chance with the bookmakers, while Burning Victory and Echoes In Rain are another brace of classy Mullins-trained runners that feature in the 28-strong entry list.
Currently heading the ante-post betting for the race is Henry De Bromhead's Telmesomethinggirl, who was a hugely impressive five-and-a-half length winner of the Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, and she's currently sitting at the top of the betting at 9/2 with some firms.
A shock 33/1 winner of the Coral Cup last March, Paul Hennessy's Heaven Help Us could line up in the Mares' Hurdle at the 2022 festival, and she's currently available at 9/1. Narrowly touched off by the Peter Fahey-trained Royal Kahala last time out, that pair could lock horns once again on the opening day of Cheltenham, as Fahey's charge is also entered, and sits around the 9/1 mark alongside her old adversary Heaven Help Us.
With only Donald McCain (Whiteoak 2008) and Dan Skelton (Roksana 2019) able to break the Irish stranglehold on this race since it's inception in 2008, there looks to be another dominant team from the Emerald Isle taking their chance in this event and other notable runners that could travel across the Irish Sea include Paul Nolan's Mrs Milner and Gordon Elliott's Queens Brook, who both have smart form on their CVs.
Lucy Wadham's Martello Sky and Jamie Snowden's Anythingforlove fought out the finish in a decent Listed Mares' Hurdle at Sandown last weekend, and that pair could be two of the leading British-trained protagonists, but the former is the shorter of the two at 16/1.
Others flying the flag for the home brigade could be Nicky Henderson's Marie's Rock, who was hugely impressive at Kempton Park on Boxing Day, while the 2020 Martin Pipe winner Indefatigable, who finished fourth in the Mares' Hurdle last season looks another eye-catching contest awash with quality.