The Mares’ Hurdle is run over two and a half miles on the old course and the participants usually have to jump ten hurdles if they are to emerge victorious in this Grade One event.
The race has been farmed by Willie Mullins since its inception in 2008 with the Closutton based trainer winning the race an incredible nine times.
It is open to fillies and mares aged four and older. The last ten winners of this race had all been at least placed in their previous start and Quevega is the only ten-year-old to have won the race to date.
Statistics suggest more recently that the favourite has to be taken on as five out of the last six favourites including Benie Des Dieux (twice), Apple’s Jade, Limini and Annie Power have all been beaten.
It also suggests that if a horse is wearing any form of headgear, their chances are diluted as not one mare has been even placed in the race when they have been applied.
Previous Winners of the Mare’s Hurdle
Runners To Watch
Below are selected runners who hold entries for the Mare’s Hurdle 2021.
Karl Hedley provides some recent form notes to help point you in the right direction of identifying the winner.
Concertista – Willie Mullins
Concertista comes here as favourite based on her trainer’s previous record in the race.
Her form whilst good is open to interpretation despite winning at Leopardstown last time.
That supplemented her win at Fairyhouse on her seasonal reappearance where she defeated Minella Melody by a little over a length.
There is no doubting her ability but there are rivals with proven Grade One form here and that has to be taken into account.
She has previous winning Festival experience to fall back on as she won the Dawn Run here last season but again that is at a lower level than this.
She may well win, but she is certainly no good thing.
Roksana – Dan Skelton
Roksana has come back as good as ever this season and the former winner of this race must hold very chance of regaining her crown.
An eight-length win over Magic Of Light at Ascot was the perfect prep for this race especially after such a brilliant run behind Paisley Park and Thyme Hill in the Long Walk Hurdle back in December.
Harry Skelton knows the mare inside out and her form around here reads 1-2-4.
In a race that lacks any real strength in depth, she may well prove to be the answer.
Dame De Compagnie – Nicky Henderson
Dame De Compagnie seemed to take to chasing like a natural when winning on her debut over the larger obstacles at Ayr back in January.
A nine-length defeat of Cornerstone Lad saw her upped in grade to contest the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown the following month.
She never seemed happy throughout the race and was badly hampered when unseating an unfortunate Nico De Boinville at the Railway fences.
There will be better days ahead for her but given the mysteriousness of her last run, she is probably best overlooked in this unless the return to smaller obstacles rejuvenates her.
Minella Melody – Henry De Bromhead
A wonderfully consistent mare who has won at Grade Three level over hurdles and been placed in a couple of Grade Two events.
She was backed as though defeat was out of the question in the Dawn Run last year but she was running over too short a trip and was well put in her place by Concertista.
This return to two-and-a-half miles will be in her favour and she can get closer on that basis.
If she turns up here she has bigger claims than most and could sneak into a place.
Black Tears – Denise Foster
Black Tears was an excellent second in the Coral Cup last year so she knows all about the hustle and bustle of the Cheltenham Festival.
She has a lot of work to do in order to turn around the form with Concertista based on their meeting at Punchestown back in November.
In saying that she upped her game to win a Grade Three race at the same track last month and is now fully fit.
A big run cannot be ruled out and obvious place claims.
Indefatigable – Paul Webber
Indefatigable has made the frame in ten out of her fourteen career starts over hurdles including four wins.
Two of those successes have come over this course and distance but she has been badly out of form through the winter.
She was beaten three dozen lengths by McFabulous in a Grade Two race at Kempton back in January.
Despite being sent off as favourite for a listed race at the same track a couple of months earlier she could only manage a third-placed effort behind Bannixtown Glory.
She appears to be caught in that uncomfortable level where she is too good for handicaps and not good enough for anything of a higher grade.
Unfortunately, she makes limited appeal here.
Floressa – Nicky Henderson
Floressa didn’t seem to handle this track all too well when finishing in the mid-division in the Daylesford Novices’ Hurdle last season.
She was put firmly in her place by Concertista who hand twenty-three lengths in hand over her that day. S
he has never been tested over this sort of trip but perhaps it can encourage some improvement.
She looks to have it all to do on form though and is best swerved here.
Dolcita – Fergal O’Brien
Dolcita had a short stay with Paul Nicholls following her extraction from the yard of Willie Mullins last Autumn before moving on to her new yard with Fergal O’Brien.
She was a well-beaten seventeen lengths behind Molly Olly’s Wishes at last month following her return from a three-month break.
She would need to improve out of sight in order to take a hand in the finish here.
Ticks The Right Boxes?
2021 Mare’s Hurdle Tips
I shall be siding with Roksana who can reclaim her crown following her brilliant exploits already this season.
Concertista is of absolutely little value and the Mullins factor will mean her price only gets smaller as the race approaches.
It would be of relatively little surprise if Black Tears could grab a place at rewarding odds given that she has done very little wrong this year.
Odds With Paddy Power – correct at time of publication
- 11/8 Concertista
- 5/2 Roksana
- 6/1 Dame De Compagnie
- 11/1 Black Tears
- 18/1 Great White Shark
- 20/1 Minella Melody
- 22/1 Indefatigable
- 40/1 Floressa
- 50/1 My Sister Sarah
- 80/1 Dolcita
- 150/1 Whitehotchillifili