The opening day’s Grade 1 races at the Cheltenham Festival conclude with the Mares’ Hurdle, with the likes of Benie Des Dieux and Honeysuckle claiming success in the contest in recent years.
The 2m4f contest was dominated by the incredible Quevega in its first years, as Willie Mullins’ ‘supermare’ won the race an incredible six times in a row.
Our team have looked through the ante-post markets in hope of pinning down a potential winner in the contest come March.
Here are three selections to consider for the 2022 renewal of the Mares’ Hurdle.
TELMESOMETHINGGIRL (10/1 – William Hill + bet365)
The winner of the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle last season, Telmesomethinggirl could be well be targeted for the Grade 1 contest in March.
Henry De Bromhead’s mare was impressive on her Cheltenham Festival outing this year, thundering clear of her rivals in the final stages to win by five and a half lengths.
Leopardstown proved too stiff for her when taking on three miles in the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle, but she could still be effective over the shorter distances over obstacles.
The six-year-old could have more to offer this season and her 10/1 price tag for the Mares’ Hurdle holds some appeal at this stage.
STORMY IRELAND (10/1 – bet365)
A mare that has exploded back into life on her second stint in Closutton, Stormy Ireland could well show further promise this season.
The seven-year-old joined Paul Nicholls back in October and was seriously unlucky not to claim success under the Ditcheat trainer, finishing second on three of her four starts under the Champion Trainer.
Now back in the care of Willie Mullins, the daughter of Motivator found her winning edge back in Ireland as she claimed the Grade 2 Underwriting Exchange Hurdle at Fairyhouse and the Grade 1 Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown.
She looks bang in form and could well be of interest over the 2m4f distance on offer at Cheltenham with a price of 10/1.
ROYAL KAHALA (25/1 – Various)
Under the guidance of Peter Fahey, Royal Kahala could be a surprise package next season if remaining over hurdles.
The six-year-old caught some interest last season, winning three of her five starts before making the trip across the Irish Sea for the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Her Prestbury Park run didn’t go to plan, as she finished 17 lengths off the pace in ninth but she was found to be lame after the contest.
She is an interesting sort when at her best, with her 25/1 price tag for the Mares’ Hurdle looking decent at this stage.