[Free Tips For Cheltenham] Mares Chase 2021
The inaugural Mares Chase will be run at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday 17 March over 2 miles and 4 furlongs. It is an addition that has been welcomed by some, whilst some purists think it will further dilute other races at what is considered the Olympics of National Hunt Racing.
But there looks to be plenty of value on offer in the ante-post market for the 2021 Mares Chase, and we’re hoping to exploit it.
Mares Chase Analysis
Cheltenham Racecourse on 17th March
There obviously aren’t any past editions to help us pick the winner of the 2021 Mares Chase, but the two other mares-only races at the Cheltenham Festival may provide some insight into which trainers will target the race.
Willie Mullins is the obvious trainer to concentrate on, as he’s won 9 of the 13 editions of the Mares’ Hurdle and all five editions of the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle while English trainers have plundered just two of those 18 races.
Willie Mullins has said that Benie Des Dieux (16/1) is the best mares he’s trained but, though she has won over fences, Mullins has kept here over hurdles for the last two years. She suffered her first defeat for Mullins in the 2020 Mares’ Hurdle but is likely to remain over the smaller obstacles either for another crack at that race or a step-up in trip to contest the Stayers’ Hurdle.
Honeysuckle (10/1), who defeated Benie Des Dieux at Cheltenham, is also a top-class mare, but she’s also likely to stay over hurdles next season for trainer Henry De Bromhead.
Mullins currently has the favourite for the Mares’ Chase in Salsaretta (7/1), and the seven-year-old looked useful in winning four novice chases last season. However, she beat nothing of note and looks too short at this stage. Elimay (10/1) is another Willie Mullins-trained runner who looks short enough. She also won a couple of weak novice chases easily but was only sixth in the 2019 Mares’ Hurdle.
Robin De Carlow (20/1) is more interesting at the prices, as she beat the 2020 Arkle winner Put The Kettle On when last seen. However, she’s not been seen since and you’d need to take a chance on her well-being. Elfile (20/1) and Concertista (33/1) have excellent form in mares’ hurdles but could stay over the smaller obstacles.
That’s why the one to back from the Mullins stable could be Laurina (33/1). The positives are she was the easiest winner of the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle so far in 2018 and was sent-off at just 5/2 for the 2019 Champion Hurdle before, admittedly, disappointing. Always thought of as chaser, she looked brilliant when beating Minella Indo on her chasing debut.
The negatives are Laurina’s form was dreadful after that, jumping poorly in defeat at Leopardstown and Sandown in mixed company before losing her 100% record against mares with a lacklustre performance over hurdles. However, she’s top-class at best and, hopefully, Mullins will build-up her confidence again against her own sex before aiming her at the 2021 Mares’ Chase.
Other top Irish horses to consider include the 2020 Arkle Chase winner Put The Kettle On (10/1) but, whilst she has won at this trip, the speed she showed when winning the Arkle may tempt connections to have a go at the Champion Chase.
Shattered Love (25/1) is another Irish-trained runner that looks overpriced on her best form, which came when winning the 2018 Marsh Novices’ Chase. She’s been highly tried since against the boys, but Gordon Elliott will surely try and take this prize with here next season, providing the 9-year-old can maintain her form.
Despite the superior record of the Irish runners, the English runners can’t be dismissed. La Bague Au Roi (33/1) and Lady Buttons (20/1) are both Grade 1 winners but have yet to show their best at Cheltenham. That’s not the case with Happy Diva (20/1), who has travelled beautifully at Cheltenham in winning once and being a three-time runner-up in her last four starts there. She must have each-way claims.
But the English mare that looks a crazy price is Maire Banrigh (50/1), as he was travelling supremely well when falling in the Arkle. There’s a chance she’s better at 2-miles, but she has won over just short of 2½ miles, and this will surely be a more winnable race for here than the Champion Chase.