The Cheltenham David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle is a Day 1 race that can sometimes get overshadowed by the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the Arkle and the Champion Hurdle. The Mares’ Hurdle is also a G1 contest though and this year it could well turn out to be Tuesday’s most-thrilling encounter! You only need to look at the 3 horses leading our ante-post market, to see why…View Full Ante-Post Market Now!
Vroum Vroum Mag
Willie Mullins 8-year-old won this race last year and there’s every reason to believe that she can do so again. After losing by just a short-head to Apple’s Jade, at Fairyhouse in December, she bounced back to beat stablemate Clondaw Warrior at Leopardstown and held-off a powerful challenge from Midnight Jazz in the Doncaster Mares’ Hurdle. She’s likely to start at a shorter price than Apple’s Jade, as punters know for sure that she’ll get up the hill.
The Leopardstown victory placed her firmly among the very best hurdling mares on the circuit and she was sent to Punchestown as a huge odds-on favourite to win the Quevega Mares Hurdle. Gordon Elliott’s inmate came up short on the day though and was beaten by another of Willie Mullins’ charges. Apple’s Jade could have few excuses and simply found Limini to be a better horse, on the day. She’s only a 5-year-old though and the performance could well have been an errant blip to her otherwise unrelenting progress.
She was very impressive when winning the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, at Cheltenham last year. Limini was a well-beaten 3rd in the Top Novices’ Hurdle (Aintree) though and Mullins will surely have been surprised to see another of his runner (the unfancied German, Whiteout) put her to the sword in the Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown. The Quevega victory indicates that Willie has got her to peak at the right time however and she looks certain to run a very big race.
It’s hard to see beyond these 3, if this tremendous trio goes to post intact. Punters do like the look of both Jer’s Girl and Let’s Dance though. Shattered Love, Lifeboat Mona, Midnight Jazz and Augusta Kate are all exceptional mares, but this looks too tough a task for them unless one or two big names drop out.
This race is for mares aged at least 4 years and the action takes place on Cheltenham’s Old Course. The runners and riders cover a distance of 2m 4f. There are 9 hurdles to overcome, along the way.
David Nicholson passed away in 2006. He was successful as both a National Hunt jockey and trainer. However, it is his record as a trainer that most stands out – particularly at Cheltenham where he bagged no less than 17 winners.
His major victories (all venues) include the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the King George VI Chase, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Melling Chase, the Stayers’ Hurdle , the Christmas Hurdle, the Triumph Hurdle, the Sun Alliance Novices’ Hurdle, the Arkle Challenge Trophy, the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle, the Tingle Creek Chase, the Whitbread Gold Cup and the Mackeson Gold Cup.
In recent years, the race has been utterly dominated by Ruby Walsh. He won on-board Quevega in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 (He also rode Vroum Vroum Mag to victory, last season).
Ruby Walsh has been leading Cheltenham jockey in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Other horses he has built a famous partnership with include Kauto Star, Big Bucks and Hurricane Fly. Walsh is from County Kildare in Ireland and is the eldest son of Ted Walsh, who was a champion amateur jockey himself.
Quevega is a French-bred horse and she was sired by Robin Des Champs. She is out of a dam called Vega and was foaled in 2004. She began racing in 2007 on French soil. After enjoying modest success, she was transferred to Willie Mullins yard in the Republic of Ireland.
She won the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle at the very first attempt and also by a huge margin. She was up against the well-fancied Chomba Womba. Quevega raced in mid-division, before showing her class and pulling away from the field – winning by fourteen lengths. Quevega’s successes were not limited to just this race though and she also won the World Series Hurdle four times.
Make sure that you do not miss this season’s renewal of the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle. It has the potential to be an absolute classic!View Full Ante-Post Market Now!