Mares Chase Tips – Elimay Standout Bet In Inaugural Race

Eglantine Du Seuil Mares' Novices' Hurdle Cheltenham

Noel Fehily riding Eglantine Du Seuil to victory in the 2019 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

2021 Mares Chase Tips

There are no trends for Daniel Overall to take into consideration as the Mrs Paddy Power Chase, which takes place on Gold Cup Day. The race is being run for the first time this year and is shaping up to be highly competitive.

2021 Mares Chase Overview

The penultimate race of this seasons Cheltenham Festival, this will be the inaugural running of the Mares’ Chase. While Benie Des Dieux will not line up, Willie Mullins looks to have a more than capable deputy as he looks to stamp his authority on this race as he has on the Mares Hurdle and the Mares Novices’ Hurdle.

More Mares Wins for Willie?

There have been a combined 18 runnings of the Mares Hurdle and the Mares Novices’ Hurdle; Willie Mullins has won 14 of them. With that in mind, it’s only right that we begin our analysis of the Mares’ Chase by assessing his runners.

A useful hurdler, Elimay quickly progressed into a better chaser, winning three of her four starts over the larger obstacles thus far. Her only starts last term were victories at Grade 3 and Grade 2 level over fences and she made an encouraging seasonal reappearance over hurdles, narrowly denied in second by stablemate Buildmeupbuttercup in a listed race. 

She emerged as a leading Mares’ Chase contender after her performance in the Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase, finishing a valiant second to leading Ryanair contender, Allaho; only finishing three lengths behind that rival despite only being in receipt of two pounds with the pair pulling a street clear of the remainder. Furthermore, the time of that race compared favourably with the Grade 2 Mares Novice Chase that was run earlier on the card so the form of that effort looks solid.

A comfortable winner of the Opera Hat Mares Chase on her most recent start, that was an impressive performance considering the trip was short of her optimum and she was giving weight away to her rivals. With that behind her, all roads lead to Cheltenham where she has a leading chance of victory. It’s worth noting that she was well beaten on her sole previous start at Cheltenham when sixth in the Mares’ Hurdle, but that was just her second start for the yard and she was only a five-year-old racing against more experienced rivals, so that run can be easily forgiven.

A Grade 1 bumper winner and now a Grade 1 winning chaser, Colreevy  is undoubtedly a mare with plenty of class. Her defeat of Pencilfulloflead in the Faugheen Novice Chase reads well given he ties in closely with some of the leading novice chasers in Ireland this season, and she subsequently took her tally to three out of three over fences with an easy win at Thurles although her task was made easier by the fall of her nearest pursuer. 

Somewhat surprisingly, connections seem to be looking to swerve the Cheltenham Festival, with a Grade 2 Mares Novice Chase at Limerick on the 14th March being mooted as the most likely target after her most recent outing. Perhaps they’re conscious of the fact that she was a well beaten fifth in last season’s Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle when fancied although she ran well with plenty of credit in the 2018 Champion Bumper at a big price. If she were to run here, she’d certainly have a leading chance especially if the ground was on the soft side. 

Robin De Carlow’s (20/1) victory over Put The Kettle On reads well now, but she hasn’t been seen since that win in October 2019 so her participation is a severe doubt. Elfile (20/1) achieved a good level of form over hurdles and she ran well when third in last season’s Mares’ Hurdle, but she’s yet to run this season and she hasn’t run over fences; her price is perhaps representative of the respect the market has for her trainer and the lack of clear contenders for this race.

In the absence of Benie Des Dieux, the Ricci’s may turn to Salsaretta who has won four of her six starts over fences, although her two defeats have come this season; a faller at the first on her seasonal reappearance, she finished last of five on her most recent outing having never travelled a yard. She ran well in the 2019 Albert Bartlett and her form over fences last season was good. If she could rediscover her best, she’d have each-way claims.

Former Festival Winners

A surprising winner of last year’s Arkle, Put The Kettle On has featured prominently in the market since it opened. With form over intermediate trips and after being well beaten by Chacun Pour Soi last time out, some assumed it was a given that she’d favour the Mares Chase over the Champion Chase. However, connections are favouring a tilt at Wednesday’s feature race instead. With three wins from as many starts at Cheltenham, her course record would make her a serious contender here if connections have a change of heart. 

Last year’s Coral Cup winner Dame De Compagnie made a winning start to life over fences on her belated seasonal reappearance, beating the 2019 Fighting Fifth winner, Cornerstone Lad in a two-runner race. She was set a tough task next time out in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles, where she unseated having been badly hampered by the fall of Hitman. She was struggling to hold her position at the time and having only completed once over the larger obstacles, Nicky Henderson is reportedly favouring a tilt at the Mares’ Hurdle, which is understandable. Perhaps she’s one for this race in 2022.

An admirable performer down the years, Shattered Love won the Marsh Novices’ Chase in 2018 and has been highly tried at subsequent festivals, finishing down the field in both the Gold Cup and the Ryanair. An emphatic winner of a Listed race earlier in the season, she shaped promisingly behind Elimay in the Opera Hat when last seen; that trip was short of her optimum and Gordon Elliott noted that she’d improve for the run, her first in over two months. Her experience will hold her in good stead and while she may be vulnerable to younger legs, she has solid each-way claims. 

Others to Note

A dual Listed winner this term, Annie Mc  has won five of her eight starts over fences, with her only defeats coming in two competitive handicaps and last year’s Marsh Novices’ Chase, while she is unbeaten against her own sex over the larger obstacles. Jonjo O’Neill wasn’t optimistic about her prospects this season as he felt she was too high in the weights, but the mares’ programme has made things easier as she continues to surprise her connections. Effective on soft ground, she won in the style of a strong stayer last time out so her chances will improve if it becomes a stamina test. 

Annie Mc had Zambella (25/1) and Happy Diva (25/1) behind her last time out in second and third respectively. The former showed promise over hurdles last season but she has quickly made up into a better chaser, winning a trio of listed races this term. Happy Diva hasn’t been at her best this term but her record at Cheltenham entitles her to plenty of respect; twelve-months ago she finished second in the Paddy Power Plate off 149 and a repeat of that performance would giver her a chance here. However, now she’s dropped to a mark of 145, connections may be tempted to try and go one better than last term in the plate. 

Mares Chase – Big-Race Verdict

Elimay is taken to win the inaugural running of the Mares’ Chase, with 9/4 looking a more than fair price given that her rivals towards the top of the market are unlikely to run here, while Shattered Love looks a solid each way proposition. 

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