The Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle is a Grade 1 contest that takes place on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday March 15
The race is run over two-and-a-half-miles and is also known as the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle. It was added to the Festival programme in 2008 and trainer Willie Mullins has won nine of the 14 renewals, including six with the superstar Quevega from 2009-2014.
Mares' Hurdle Betting Odds
The market for the Mares' Hurdle is headed by Telmesomethinggirl for Henry De Bromhead, winner of the Mares' Novices' race at the Festival last March. She hasn't won yet this season in two runs, finishing third to classy Royal Kahala at Leopardstown over Christmas in her most recent start.
That rival trades at 5/1 for Cheltenham, while the Willie Mullins squad may be headed by 6/1 Stormy Ireland, winner of the Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year's Day.
Heaven Help Us (Coral Cup) and Mrs Milner (Pertemps Final) were both winners at The Festival last March and could be back with this race in mind for Irish handlers Paul Hennessy and Paul Nolan respectively.
Dan and Harry Skelton won this race in 2019 and could send Molly Ollys Wishes into battle at 20/1 this time, while the British challenge may also include Marie's Rock at 16/1 for Nicky Henderson.
Mares' Hurdle Previous Winners
2010: Quevega (Ruby Walsh / Willie Mullins)
2011: Quevega (Ruby Walsh / Willie Mullins)
2012: Quevega (Ruby Walsh / Willie Mullins)
2013: Quevega (Ruby Walsh / Willie Mullins)
2014: Quevega (Ruby Walsh / Willie Mullins)
2015: Glens Melody (Paul Townend / Willie Mullins)
2016: Vroum Vroum Mag (Ruby Walsh / Willie Mullins)
2017: Apple's Jade (Bryan Cooper / Gordon Elliott)
2018: Benie Des Dieux (Ruby Walsh / Willie Mullins)
2019: Roksana (Harry Skelton / Dan Skelton)
2020: Honeysuckle (Rachael Blackmore / Henry De Bromhead)
2021: Black Tears (Jack Kennedy / Denise Foster)
Mares' Hurdle Prediction
Royal Kahala to win - BET NOW
Royal Kahala has some excellent form in the book but her most recent Galmoy Hurdle win in Ireland suggests that three-miles is the correct trip for her and connections seem sure to be tempted with the Stayers' Hurdle now.
Stormy Ireland is the major Mullins contender, given the impressive Relkeel win she achieved over the trip on soft ground on New Years' Day. Danny Mullins didn't do more than push her out to the line in holding McFabulous that afternoon and she's a major player with multiple graded wins on her CV already. She seems revitalised since rejoining the team at Closutton this season.
Molly Ollys Wishes is another that may well be suited best at closer to three-miles, while Marie's Rock will have to improve to get to the level of some of these possible rivals.
At around 12/1 Heaven Help Us should retain a strong chance. Last year's wide-margin Coral Cup winner shaped ok in the Grade 2 International Hurdle here in December before just getting edged out by Royal Kahala when back up at this 2m4f trip over Christmas in Ireland, with ante-post Mares' Hurdle favourite Telmesomethinggirl behind in third.
Heaven Help Up - To win and each-way - BET NOW
She tagged along for the spin in the Irish Champion Hurdle since, and is likely to be reaching concert-pitch once more for this contest.
Mares' Hurdle Betting Tips
1. Royal Kahala to win - BET NOW
2. Heaven Help Up - To win and each-way - BET NOW
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Mares' Hurdle Betting Tips Betting Tips
Mares' Hurdle Betting Tips Frequently Asked Questions
What is your recommended bet?
Royal Kahala to win.A
When is the Cheltenham Festival?
Tuesday March 15-Friday March 18.A
When is the Mares' Hurdle?
Tuesday March 15.A