Mares Hurdle Guide

1. ALLETRIX

Trainer - Jessica Harrington

Jockey -

Three starts this season - two over hurdles, most recently finishing fourth of six to Laurina in the Quevega Hurdle.

Won a smart race this time last season albeit in handicap on soft ground, conditions she has been waiting for ever since - it is has either been one extreme or another.

Each way value.

2. APPLE'S SHAKIRA

T - Nicky Henderson

J -

Lightly raced mare, who was sent off the favourite for last year's Triumph hurdle, where she travelled smoothly for Barry Geraghty before finding nothing up the straight.

She had good Cheltenham form prior to that, so her run was somewhat of an unknown.

That was followed by another below-par effort at Aintree in another Grade One, and was pulled up in a Listed outing at Sandown on only start of this campaign.

Something clearly amiss.

3. BENIE DES DIEUX

T - Willie Mullins

J - Ruby Walsh

With Apple's Jade and Laurina heading to the Champion, Benie Des Dieux looks the star attraction in the race, and will be seeking back-to-back victories in this contest after last year's so called upset.

Has not been seen this term but Mullins and Walsh are confident they have her right at home.

Followed last year's success with another victory over Apple's Jade in the Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown, and arrives back here as the one to beat.

4. CAP SOLEIL

T - Fergal O'Brien

J - Paddy Brennan

Very lightly raced daughter of Kapgarde, finished best of the rest to Laurina in last season's Mares Novice final.

Has good Cheltenham form, winning a bumper on her second start for the yard back in 2017.

Yet to be unleashed this season, and arrives here fresh as a daisy to offer hopefully what will be much more.

Interesting.

5. CHAMPAYNE LADY

T - Alan Fleming

J -

Another mare not sighted this term, was just a short-head behind Cap Soleil in last year's Dawn Run - the two well adrift of the Mullins filly who was simply in a different league.

Won her maiden on her third start over hurdles last season at Fairyhouse, a couple of weeks after just being held at the same venue.

Perhaps a shade outclassed here, but following a similar path to many Mares in this field.

6. ELIMAY

T - Willie Mullins

J -

One start for the yard since making the move from France - her debut finishing a good second in a Grade Three at Leopardstown over Christmas.

Smart record at Auteuil for former connections, and could represent the unknown quantity in the field.

Must be thought of highly if purchased by JP McManus, but those backing would be doing so blindly.

7. GOOD THYNE TARA

T - Willie Mullins

J -

Won the Grade Three ahead of stable companion Elimay over Christmas, but did not live up to the hype when last and well behind in the Quevega Hurdle on latest appearance.

The winner was always going clear but you would have expected better, for a horse that has not been outside the top three on her four starts prior to that.

Sixth in the Galway Hurdle over the summer, and holds cards to play here.

9. JESTER JET

T - Tom Lacey

J -

Finally she got her head in front at Haydock in a Listed trial for this, ending a run of four consecutive seconds.

Has been racing at the top level for a while now, and seems to have managed to get the hang of things.

Good second to Magic Of Light could be strong form that is boosted in the future, but could have a good part to play in the outcome of this contest first.

Player.

10. LACKANEEN LEADER

T - Gordon Elliott

J -

Hard to fancy after her four racecourse show-ups this term, finishing fifth of six in the Quevega Hurdle won by Laurina.

Was pulled up in a chasing race won by Pravalaguna at Limerick - a mare not treated with a chance in the Arkle earlier on Tuesday.

Fourth on only other hurdles race this season, and was never in contention behind Stormy Ireland at Punchestown.

Difficult to provide a case for.

11. LADY BUTTONS

T - Philip Kirby

J -

Magnificent this term, winning in great style on all four occasions over either fences or hurdles.

Biggest eye-catcher was over fences at Newbury, when Adam Nicol hardly had to flinch or move a muscle in the saddle.

Went onto win a Listed Chase at Doncaster, before winning at the same venue in a useful Grade Two contest over hurdles.

Options to go here or the Champion Chase; surely has big claims if she heads to this one.

12. LIMINI

T - Willie Mullins

J -

Winner of the Mares Novice race back in 2016, Limini was third in this contest back in 2017 when sent off the heavily-backed 6/4favourite.

However it has not been the same showing since, and has struggled to replicate her best touch.

Had a spell on the flat which never really worked out, but did finish third last time out at Gowran Park to Presenting Percy which does look promising.

13. MIA'S STORM

T - Alan King

J -

Despite victories, there were plenty of mistakes in Mia's Storm last term over fences (including the Kauto Star Novice Chase), so was put back over hurdles this term.

A decision that has been praised by many given the fact she is two from two this year, and dug in deep to win Listed honours at Kempton when last seen in November.

Trainer has had her rested since and ready to fire for the spring festivals.

14. MOMELLA

T - Harry Fry

J - Noel Fehily

Should have been the season for Momella to step-up, but littered with errors in her two outings this term for Harry Fry.

She fell at Newbury when making considerable headway in a Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle, and was expected to hose up on next start at Ascot, but she was beaten far too quickly and in fact pulled up.

Returned to school since, but on what she has showed us already, surely these waters are too deep.

16. ROKSANA

T - Dan Skelton

J - Harry Skelton

Third on one start for the yard this season, but very well thought of at home, with trainer Dan suggesting this could be his best chance of the week.

Third to Buveur D'Air to blow away the cobwebs in the Listed Contenders Hurdle a month ago, she was a close second to Santini in the Grade One Sefton Novice Hurdle at Aintree last year.

A Grade Two winner at Newbury, so surely has a part to play here if back on song.

17. SLOWMOTION

T - Joseph O'Brien

J -

Third to Laurina in the Quevega was arguably her best effort for a little while.

Has been chopping and changing with hurdles and fences - was pulled up on last chasing start so expect to stay over timber for a while.

Many others preferred though here, with more exciting profiles.

18. STORMY IRELAND

T - Willie Mullins

J -

Busy season so far, with two wins and two seconds on five hurdle races since unseating David Mullins at last season's Punchestown Festival.

A french recruit from the past would be any normal trainer's flagbearer in this division - just a shame for this 5yo she is in a stable with arguably the best around.

Form with Champion Hurdle fancy Espoir D'Allen, and set it up nicely for Laurina last time out in the Listed Race at Eadestown.

Will be scrapping for the early initiative.

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