Mares’ Hurdle Tips – Day 1 – Cheltenham 2015
This year’s Mares’ Hurdle will seem strange for many, as there will be no Quevega in the line-up, who of course won the race from 2009-2014.
Not that Willie Mullins will be relinquishing his grip on the race, as he has another star lined-up to take her place in Annie Power, who heads the market at 4/7.
Such odds come despite the 7yo having not been seen for 311 days, which came in May when Annie Power never came out of top gear to win the Grade 1 Mares Hurdle at Punchestown (2m2f, yielding), in the process putting her back in the winner’s enclosure having been touched by over 1l in the World Hurdle at Cheltenham (3m, good).
That defeat 12 months ago here was her only loss in 12 career outings, and there was no shame in having just been outstayed up the hill.
This drop back to 2m4f will be ideal, and a glance at the remainder of the field shows she is around a stone clear of her rivals.
But, even if Annie Power does outclass her rivals, there is still plenty of each-way value available, while punters will get their money back as a FREE bet should they finish second to the favourite. It’s a situation that adds some attraction to several names lining-up behind Annie Power in the betting, including stablemate, Glens Melody (7/2).
This 7yo is exposed over hurdles via a record of 8-17, including a highly creditable 3/4l second to the mighty, Quevega, in last year’s renewal. Only headed on the line, a repeat of that would see Glens Melody right in the mix, especially as he showed his wellbeing with a Listed win at Warwick last month (2m5f, soft).
Polly Peachum comes next in the lists at 8/1, and she beat L’Unique (14/1) 5l in a Listed handicap at Cheltenham last April (2m5f, good).
The 7yo will look to get back to that level of form having been pulled up behind Carole’s Spirit when last seen at Kempton in November (3m, soft). However, that slowly run race up in trip can be forgotten, and while she has yet to dip her toe into Graded company, Polly Peachum will go to Cheltenham a fresh horse.
The aforementioned, Carole’s Spirit is another that merits respect to make the frame at 14/1, especially as she is still improving. A dual Listed winner, this 7yo has been a close second in two Grade 2’s, including at Ascot in January (3m, soft). She failed to give 5lb away to Bitofapuzzle (20/1) that day, but may reverse roles off level terms.
But, for those looking at bigger each-way odds, then The Pirate’s Queen (20/1) may turn a few heads, as Alan King’s improving 6yo is in the unexposed category having gone from a maiden success to following-up in Listed grade (beat Bitofapuzzle a neck) when last seen at Haydock in December. Put aside for this, The Pirate’s Queen could certainly make the frame, as she didn’t enjoy the heavy ground at Haydock, and can be expected to be even better on a faster surface.
It’s hard to get away from Annie Power, who is in a different class to the rest of these, but her odds don’t make for each-way potential, where the likes of The Pirate’s Queen could figure at 20/1.