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Hayley O’Connor: I can’t see beyond Limini in the Mares Hurdle

| 13.03.2017

The great sporting rivalry for the Prestbury Cup begins this afternoon when the epic Supreme Novices blasts off the Cheltenham Festival. I like to be imaginative when it comes to looking for value but I’m afraid I’m going to follow the crowd in the opener.

There has been a world of criticism about the strength of Melon’s market lead for this race, with the consensus being that he won one of the weakest maiden hurdles in Ireland on his sole start, which would hardly justify him being the favourite for a Cheltenham Grade 1.

I agree, but the way he went and the comment from Patrick Mullins, who says he’d leave stablemate Bunk Off Early for dead on the gallops at home  has convinced me.

Conversely, Bunk Off Early won one of the best maiden hurdles in Ireland at Christmas, and wouldn’t have liked the ground when beaten on his last run. If he’s better than him, he should win.

Another Irish hotpot I can’t look beyond is Limini in the Mares’ Hurdle at 16:10, who takes on last year’s winner and stablemate Vroum Vroum Mag. I saw her on the gallops this morning and she’s towered above the rest of the string with Ruby aboard.

You can see a clip of her and others on my twitter page @hayleyboconnor. I would have fancied her to place in the Champion Hurdle and I think she’ll have this one in the bag, looking like she’ll only improve

So stop tipping favourites I can hear you say. Ok, Ok, while I’ll give a mention to Petit Mouchoir in the Champion Hurdle, something is niggling me about him handling the course today.

So instead I am going to recommend an each way bet in the oh so difficult Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase at 17.30.

Last Goodbye, trained by Liz Doyle could have a squeak. He’s got a lovely way of jumping, very economical and could make ground over the fences. It looks like he’d try his heart out and would be courageous enough to zig zag through the other 19 runners to take this.

Have a wonderful day, lets hope we see some magic, and I’ll check in again tomorrow.

And click here for the latest Cheltenham Festival odds.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing



Hayley O'Connor

Hayley O'Connor is a proud racehorse owner, breeder, self-proclaimed dreamer and PR manager at Ladbrokes. You may have even spotted her riding in the 2015 Charity Race at Cheltenham. Read her exclusive opinions at Ladbrokes News.