Mares’ Hurdle Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds, Cheltenham, 4.10, 13th March 2018
The David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle is yet another Grade 1 race on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. Open to mares aged four or older, the Mares’ Hurdle is run over two miles, four furlongs and has nine hurdles along the way.
In the 10 previous renewals of this race, Willie Mullins has trained all but two of the winners (Quevega accounts for six of those wins) but it’s defending champion, Apple’s Jade for Gordon Elliott, who is the very strong favourite at the head of the market.
Mares Hurdle Betting Tips
Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.
Mares Hurdle Betting Offers
- Betfair – 28/1 Enhanced Odds on Apple’s Jade to win (new customers) – New Customers can get Apple’s Jade at an enhanced 28/1 to win the Arkle Chase. Max Stake £1. Winnings paid in free bets, valid for 7 days, only deposits with cards/Paypal count. Exchange and multiple bets excluded. T&C’s Apply. 18+|Gamble Aware.
- Apple’s Jade 7/1 Enhanced Odds with 888sport (new customers) – New customers only. £10 minimum deposit using promo code “BOOST”. Qualifying bet must be placed at the normal odds Min bet £5, max bet £5. Extra winnings paid in FREE BETS and added within 72 hrs of qualifying bet settlement. Free bet stakes not included in bet returns. Free bets expire 7 days after credit. Other Terms & Conditions apply.
Free bets, enhanced odds and other offers for the Mares’ Hurdle will appear as soon as the bookies release them, but check out the latest Cheltenham Festival betting offers for the other Festival promotions and bonuses currently available.
Mares’ Hurdle Tips and 2018 Race Preview
Can Any Challenger Serve it Up to the Favourite?
Apple’s Jade is the firmest of favourites at a best price of 8/13 with Bet365. The six-year-old is unbeaten since her win at Cheltenham 12 months ago with wins coming at different distances and on different conditions underfoot. She is clearly going to take some stopping on Tuesday so let’s have a look as the two most fancied to give her a scare.
La Bague Au Roi (10/1 with BetVictor) heads to Cheltenham on the back of wins in each of her three appearances so far this season. The seven-year-old now appears to be at her very best and she’ll hit the lead early on to try and control the pace.
Let’s Dance (7/1 with Betfred) is set to be the horse that Willie Mullins’ trusts to claim this race again. She claimed a competitive enough race at Leopardstown in December but that win was bookended with a couple of disappointing performances.
Those two will have to be respected by Gordon Elliott and all of Apple’s Jade connections but it’s tough to see them providing her with too many problems. She’s a class apart of all her competition and could well prove to be the most straightforward winner in all of Cheltenham.
Jer’s Girl Can Provide a Nice Each Way Return
The quality of the field for the 2018 Mares’ Hurdle isn’t quite at the level that it’s been in recent renewals. That means there is little chance of any other winner than the favourite but it also means that there’s some tasty value about for those who looking for an each way play.
Either of La Bague Au Roi or Let’s Dance would be decent options but at 25/1 with Coral, Jer’s Girl looks the most attractive option. She was travelling well in last year’s Mares’ Hurdle before falling three out from home. A multiple Grade 1 winner as a juvenile, there is no doubting the natural ability to Jer’s Girl. She just needs to put in a performance of that sort of quality to make 25/1 look far too big.
Bigger Odds Each Way Options the Play Here
Some people are put off betting on favourites who are available at as short a price as Apple’s Jade but there’s nothing wrong with getting involved at odds on if the horse goes on to win. Baring something going badly wrong, that will surely be the case for Apple’s Jade. That 25/1 on Jer’s Girl will make the race more entertaining however.
Mares Hurdle Previous Winners
- 2017 – Apple’s Jade – jockey Bryan Cooper, trainer Gordon Elliott
- 2016 – Vroum Vroum Mag – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2015 – Glen’s Melody – jockey Paul Townend, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2014 – Quevega – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2013 – Quevega – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2012 – Quevega – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2011 – Quevega – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2010 – Quevega – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2009 – Quevega – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 2008 – Whiteoak – jockey Jason Maguire, trainer Donald McCain, Jr.
Mares Hurdle History
Having been added to the festival offering in 2008, this contest is one of the newer events to appear over the four days. Originally taking place on the final day, the race was moved to its current opening day slot the year after. Despite its relative youth this 2m4f contest has already featured its fair share of scintillating performances and drama.
Initially known as the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle, the race is still officially registered under this title despite the sponsorship provided by OLBG from 2011. David Nicholson certainly earned his right to have a festival contest named in his honour given the remarkable success he enjoyed at the jewel in jumps racing’s crown. The man who affectionately came to be known as “The Duke” won five festival races as a jockey and 17 as a trainer.
The inaugural running of the race was won by a short head in a thrilling finish by Donald McCain Jr’s five-year-old Whiteoak. The race was taken by a five-year-old again in 2009 but this time the race was over a long way before the finish line, as Willie Mullins’ Quevega sauntered to a 14 length success. Little did we know at the time but this was just the beginning of a record breaking sequence for this superstar mare.
Nothing could touch this daughter of Robin Des Champs from 2009-2014 as she rattled in six consecutive wins in this race. When collaring stablemate Glens Melody close home in 2014, she surpassed the Cheltenham Festival record of the legendary Golden Miller who won five consecutive Gold Cups in the 1930’s. On the back of Quevega’s heroics the race was upgraded to Grade 1 status in 2015 having previously been a Grade 2 contest.
Quevega was retired in 2014 but the Mullins dominance was set to continue into 2015. The 2015 Mares Hurdle will live long in the memory of both punters and bookmakers. Following a stellar opening day at the festival for supporters of Willie Mullins, as his hotpots, Douvan, Un de Sceaux and Faugheen all won, there was a fortune running on to the heavily favoured Annie Power in this race.
The bookies hid behind their satchels as Annie Power strode away from the field approaching the final fence… only to completely misjudge it and crash to the turf. A fall which it is estimated saved the bookies around £40 million. It was 2014 second Glens Melody who was left to pick up the pieces and provide Mullins with his seventh win in the first eight editions of this race. Mullins followed up in 2016 with yet another win, this time with Vroum Vroum Mag.
In 2017 we had something remarkable though: a winner not trained by Willie Mullins, as Apple’s Jade romped home for Gordon Elliott.