Grade Two Mares' Hurdle Guide 2022

Ascot - January 22 2022
Ascot 14:20
Harry Skelton

Molly Ollys Wishes

J: Harry Skelton
T: Dan Skelton
Age: 8
Weight: 11-4
OR: 145
Days: 63

The Dan Skelton mare was electric at Wetherby for her first start of the season, winning the Listed Mares Hurdle by just over 5 lengths with some horses in behind who have franked the form since, none-more so than Zambella who has won two listed contests since this race at Wetherby.

She is a very game mare who thrives at this trip and these conditions, but her run at the track last time out might leave a sour taste in the mouth, finishing last of five runners in the Grade 2 Coral Hurdle.

She ran too badly to be true last time, taking a very keen hold and was ridden along with three left to jump, before weakening down the home straight.

But her run at Wetherby the time before this was very good, and should she bounce back to that level of form she will be hard to stop once she gets to the front end coming down the home straight.

5 wins in just 16 runs under rules, including a very convincing run in a listed mare’s hurdle at Wetherby last year, ran poorly last time out at Ascot but can certainly bounce back in this judging by previous form.

Could serve it up to the favourite should she bounce back from a disappointing run.

Ascot - January 22 2022
Ascot 14:20
Paul Townend

My Sister Sarah

J: Paul Townend
T: W P Mullins
Age: 8
Weight: 11-4
OR: 143
Days: 24

The only Irish Raider in the race who has already won in the UK recently when landing a Mares Listed Hurdle at Kempton last November in terrific style.

Her form before that does leave some slight question marks to her name, as she seems to be quite an inconsistent sort, who doesn’t seem to put two runs together after winning disappointing each time (Last time she won in October 2020, she then went 5 runs before winning again, only placing on one occasion, but she was running in a few black type races.

She has been contesting in a few top Graded races recently so her trainer must thing something of her, and Paul Townend is over in the UK so he is booked to ride.

He was the last jockey to ride her to victory in Ireland at Listowel in June of last year, which is a huge plus for connections, Paul usually rides winners when he comes over to the UK.

Irish Raider whose last career victory was in a Listed Mares Hurdle at Kempton last November, Paul Townend booked to ride is a huge plus and conditions will suit.

She will go well.

Ascot - January 22 2022
Ascot 14:20
Tom Bellamy

Western Victory

J: Tom Bellamy
T: Emma Lavelle
Age: 9
Weight: 11-4
OR: 145
Days: 51

The joint highest rated mare in the contest, who has had a busy time of things already with previous connections, joins the inform Emma Lavelle team.

She was previously trained by Declan Queally in Ireland and is coming to the UK fresh off a 3-mile hurdle victory at Clonmel last month, winning with ease by 11 lengths after making all to make sure it was a real contest.

She ran 11 times last year, which is quite a busy time for a jumps horse, but she is clearly thriving at present and is currently 8 wins in 31 starts under rules, a fantastic strike rate for this very game mare.

She has run and won on all different conditions so the predicted soft ground come Saturday will be no issue at all, a very interesting recruit for the Marlborough based team.

Very game mare with a terrific strike rate who is thriving at the moment, joins Emma Lavelle from Ireland and she is clearly showing lots at home for her new trainer to enter her straight into a Grade 2.

The one to beat on current form.

Ascot - January 22 2022
Ascot 14:20
Jonathan Burke


J: Jonathan Burke
T: Harry Fry
Age: 8
Weight: 11-4
OR: 129
Days: 14

Another horse coming into this race who really thrives on the softer conditions, with her three career wins coming on heavy ground.

The Harry Fry mare was in top form last season winning a strong listed contest at Sandown, with Stormy Ireland in behind who has won two Grade 2’s and a Grade 1 in Ireland since they met.

The form in behind from that Sandown run last January is rock solid, but she has slightly disappointed since then and hasn’t won since, virtually coming last in each run since.

She was a well beaten fourth behind Martello Sky and Anythingforlove last time out when conditions were there to suit, so it looks like she has slightly lost her way, but she is a classy horse on her day and could bounce back but would need something out the ordinary to do so in this decent contest.

Listed winner last year with decent form in behind, who loves the muddy conditions, but has slightly lost her way recently with everything there to suit.

She will need to step up her recent form to win this.

Ascot - January 22 2022
Ascot 14:20

Emmpressive Lady

T: Sue Gardner
Age: 7
Weight: 11-0
OR: 124
Days: 26

The outsider of the field who probably doesn’t deserve to be the price she is currently, her form before her latest run is a bit patchy, but her winning performance last time out was quite impressive, dispatching some good horses with ease in a Class 2 Mares Hurdle over 3 miles at Kempton over the Christmas period.

She jumped well and was kept out of harms way until she kept on strongly going down the straight, to win by just over 5 lengths, showing she deserves this chance at getting some black type to her name.

She won two decent hurdle contests back in 2020 for Sue Gardner and will take this step up in class in her stride, being 4lb better off than most of these, but she is the lowest rated so will need to improve 20lb’s or so to land a big blow in this.

Impressive winner last time out at Kempton, is 4lb better off than some of these in the weights but has a considerably lower rating than most of these, will need to step up her game to win this, but does have place chances at the prices.

Ascot - January 22 2022
Ascot 14:20
Page Fuller


J: Page Fuller
T: Jamie Snowden
Age: 7
Weight: 11-3
OR: 136
Days: 14

Jamie Snowden has his horses in fine fettle at the moment, and Anythingforlove looks set to run another big race in this, fresh off a second-place finish in a Listed contest at Sandown last time out, just 1- and three-quarter lengths behind Martello Sky.

She wasn’t particularly fancied that day and ran a huge race to finish second, 5 lengths ahead of the third-place finisher, she did slightly edge right up the run in that day which might have stopped her chances of winning, but she still ran on gamely to the line.

She clearly thrives on the softer conditions, with all her career wins coming on either soft or heavy conditions, and she was mightily impressive when winning a Class 3 mares handicap hurdle at Ffos-Las last month, jumping nicely and gliding through the mud.

Should it be a big test on Saturday, she will be thereabouts coming to the finish, a very game mare who would run through a brick wall for connections.

Fantastic strike rate of 6 wins in 11 runs under rules in her career and never finished out of the top four, loves the soft conditions and a battle to the line, Grade 2 winner overs Hurdles under Page Fuller last February at Sandown so looks to have the best form on paper going into the race.

Will run her usual huge race.


James Mackie | @jamesmackieee