Mares’ Hurdle Preview: Tips, Betting Offers and Odds, Cheltenham, 4.10, 12th March 2019
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 the 2017 champion, Apple’s Jade for Gordon Elliott, who is at the head of the market.
Mares’ Hurdle Betting Tips 2019
Odds correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.
2019 Mares’ Hurdle Betting Offers
- PADDY POWER – 33/1 Benie Des Dieux to win Mares’ Hurdle – New Customers can get Benie Des Dieux at an enhanced 33/1 to win Mares Hurdle. 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.
- More enhanced odds offers coming soon…
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.
New Customers can get Benie Des Dieux at an enhanced 33/1 to win Mares Hurdle. Max Stake £1. Winnings paid in free bets. Full T&Cs Apply. 18+|Gamble Aware.
Mares’ Hurdle Tips and 2019 Race Preview
The Mares’ Hurdle is one of the newest races at the Cheltenham Festival. It’s very quickly reached Grade 1 status and is therefore a well-regarded race with a big prize fund. A major reason for its growth in stature was Quevega’s incredible run of wins.
She won the Mares’ Hurdle an amazing six times which required a remarkable feat of training from Willie Mullins. Only twice has Mullins failed to win the Mares’ Hurdle and he has another great chance in 2019 in the shape of firm favourite, Benie Des Dieux.
Difficult to See Past the Favourite
It is great to see so many high class mares competing in the Champion Hurdle at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. Apple’s Jade, Laurina and Verdana Blue will all prove to be quality additions to Tuesday’s championship race but it has hurt the quality of the field for the Mares’ Hurdle.
Some pundits have gone as far as to suggest that tighter qualification criteria for the Mares’ Hurdle should be introduced to make it the competitive contest for mares that it was supposed to be but that debate is for another day. Punters on Tuesday will only be concerned with who is going to win the 2019 Mares’ Hurdle.
On the face of it, it is not a tough call for punters to make. Benie Des Dieux won this race 12 months ago when finishing a couple of lengths ahead of Apple’s Jade and Ruby Walsh has described her as his best prospect of the entire Cheltenham Festival.
The only real worry is that she is yet to have a run this season but connections are not concerned. She has more class than any of her competition and could have been competitive in a couple of different races at Cheltenham so this is one favourite who is expected to oblige punters at 10/11 with RaceBets.
Lady Buttons Will Get the Support of All of Yorkshire
Connections of most horses in the field for the Mares’ Hurdle has a tough decision to make. Lady Buttons’ enthusiastic owners had many discussions with her trainer, Philip Kirby, about whether she should go for the Mares’ Hurdle or instead have a crack at the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
They only decided to race on Tuesday at the 11th hour but may be rewarded for their choice. Lady Buttons was a very popular winner of the Grade 2 Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle at Doncaster last time out which marked a return to hurdles after some improved performances over fences.
Chasing may be the longer term plan for Lady Buttons but there’s more than enough to like about her hurdling ability over the 2 mile 4 furlong trip of the Mares’ Hurdle. She also proven to be versatile in terms of the going which is highly important given the poor weather in the forecast for the Cheltenham area so Lady Buttons looks the main danger to Benie Des Dieux at 10/1 with Ladbrokes.
Mares’ Hurdle Previous Winners
- 2018 – Benie Des Dieux – jockey Ruby Walsh, trainer Willie Mullins
- 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 Trends – Quevega’s Dominance Skews Stats
As one of the newer additions to the Cheltenham Festival the Mares’ Hurdle is one of those races which punters are still trying to get their heads around. The 2m4f race is a top class contest which always attracts entries from some of the best mares around but profiling a winner is no easy task for a few reasons.
The most obvious of these is the dominance of Quevega in the race’s early history. Willie Mullins’ wonder mare did great things for the anticipation and calibre of the Mares’ Hurdle but her six wins have had a major impact on the stats which is something punters must be very aware of.
Favourites Often Prevail
The trends will show you that a high percentage of the Mares’ Hurdle winners were sent off as the favourite. Look a little deeper and you’ll see that Quevega was the favourite for all six of her wins and that winning favourites have been much rarer since she left the stage.
Similarly, Quevega was 10 when she won her sixth Mares’ Hurdle but generally speaking this is a race for younger horses with six and seven-year-olds particularly favoured.
It’s a little different with the record of trainers though. In addition to his six wins with Quevega, Willie Mullins’ vice like grip of the race was further strengthened with wins from Glens Melody, Vroum Vroum Mag and Benie Des Dieux. You can take nothing away from the feat of training required to get any of those horses prepared to win the Mares’ Hurdle but talk of the dominance of Irish trainers should be taken into context as Gordon Elliott was the only victorious other Irish trainer in the first 11 renewals of the race.
It is worth noting that between 2009 and 2018 there were well over 100 British runners but just 10 claimed even a place.
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. Mullins restored the natural order for the race the following year though as he saddled Benie Des Dieux to success in 2018, giving him his ninth win from just 11 renewals!