16:40 Cheltenham – Keep it simple with Quevega for Mares’ Hurdle
Sometimes it pays to be boring and attempt nothing too flashy and although Quevega is just 4/9 to win the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle, she must be considered the biggest banker of the entire Cheltenham Festival.
Quevega has won the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle for the past three years and was not even brought of the bridle to ease to a ten-length success over Sparky May.
A sterner examination was initially expected this year, but her two big challengers will now not be competing.
Voler De Vedette looked a shoe-in for second place but the decision has now been made that she will take on Big Buck’s in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle over an extended 3m.
Meanwhile, Unaccompanied is to miss the Cheltenham Festival altogether.
The fact that Quevega has not been seen on the racecourse all season was initially thought to be a big negative, but trainer Willie Mullins insists this is nothing to worry about and that the horse is actually stronger than last year.
Our Girl Salley is now considered one of the three biggest rivals to Quevega at 14/1 and should appreciate the drop in trip to 2m4f.
Her seven successes in Ireland represent reasonable form and she is certainly a leading challenger to fill the each-way positions.
The other two horses priced at 12/1 in the Mares’ Hurdle are Swincombe Flame and Kentford Grey Lady.
Another horse offering value to make the frame is Terre Du Vent, who looked to be making a fine British racecourse debut at Kempton last month in a race won by Triumph Hurdle fancy Grumeti, before falling with two fences remaining.
In a race that is looking weak in serious competition, 16/1 could prove great value that Terre Du Vent builds on this performance.