Cheltenham Festival Mares’ Hurdle 2020 Summary

Winner: Honeysuckle

The battle between Benie Des Dieux and Honeysuckle in the Mares’ Hurdle 2020 certainly didn’t disappoint on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival as the latter defeated the 2018 winner for Henry De Bromhead to keep her unbeaten streak alive. There had been some debate as to whether this clash of two magnificent Irish mares would happen, but the younger legs of Honeysuckle prevailed.

Backed into 9/4 against the odds-on favourite Benie Des Dieux, the six-year-old travelled strongly under regular jockey Rachael Blackmore who got a good run on the inner to lead turning for home. Honeysuckle then kept on well from the last and only needed riding out to score by half-a-length.

The front two outpaced 16/1 shot Elfile who was beaten a further 6 1/2 lengths in third with previous Mares’ Hurdle heroine Roksana 4 3/4 lengths behind in four. Stormy Ireland, second in last year’s race, made the running but faded to be fifth at 7/1 as Mullins – the most successful trainer in this – scooped three places.

Honeysuckle has won a Grade 1 over a shorter trip than this in the Irish Champion Hurdle and, if bidding for the Cheltenham equivalent in 2021, has earned quotes of 10/1 for next year’s Cheltenham Festival. It’s worth remembering she was entered in both the Mares’ and Champion Hurdle this season before owner Kenneth Alexander and De Bromhead decided to keep her at her optimum trip and put her back against her own sex.

Defeat for Benie Des Dieux saw Mullins blame a jockey error from Robbie Power, who doesn’t regularly ride Stormy Ireland, that he felt gifted Honeysuckle a run up the inside. The Mares’ Hurdle is a race that is no stranger to drama relating to that stable either.

Best Bookmaker Offers For MARES HURDLE 2021 (January 2021)

New customers only. Qualifying bet must be placed at the normal odds • max bet £5 • Extra winnings paid in FREE BETS and added within 72 hrs of qualifying bet settlement • Free bet stakes not included in bet returns • Free bets expire 7 days after credit • This offer may not be combined with any other offer • Full T&C’s apply
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Page Contents

Best Betting Sites


Race Preview: Runners & Favourites


Stats & Trends

Betting Guide

Betting Offers

Past Winners




Date: March 16, 2021


Type: Grade 1 National Hunt Hurdle Race

Distance: 2 Miles 3 Furlongs

Age Of The Horse: 4 Years Old and Older

2019 Past Winner: Roxana

Best Betting Sites For MARES HURDLE 2021

New customers only • Min deposit £10 • A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 • Min odds 1/2 (1.5) • Free Bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expires after 7 days • Free Bet stakes not included in returns • Deposit balance is available for withdrawal at any time • Withdrawal restrictions & Full T&C’s apply

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Mares Hurdle 2021 Preview & Tips

Preview By Frank Monkhouse

Preview By Frank Monkhouse

Former professional boxer who is now a content writer specialising in sports and betting. Has worked for some of the biggest names in the industry, including Coral and Betfair covering all manner of sports, from boxing and football to horse racing. A student of the formbook, he loved stats, trends, numbers and how they can guide punters towards a winner.

We’ve enjoyed some memorable renewals over the years, races that stick in the mind for both good and bad reasons. Punters have made a profit on this race in recent times while others have, rather famously, saw accumulators go up in smoke during the Mares Hurdle.

This 2m 3f Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race sees the field take on ten hurdles and it’s not often we see all of the original names in the programme cross the finish line. It’s a gruelling test that separates the gutsy mares from the divas and drama queens. Run on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival 2021, all eyes will be on the Mares Hurdle when the field line-up on Tuesday 16 March.

Our expert team of horse racing content writers preview the race, giving advice on the trends, past winners, the current antepost betting and even offer a handy betting guide.

Antepost Key Runners & Favourites

Traders at all major bookmakers have put their heads together to come up with antepost betting on the top races at the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, including the Mares Hurdle. What they have released makes for very interesting reading indeed and it has made the value hunters sit up and take note.

Antepost betting allows backers to beat the queues and get their cash down on their chosen horse early, well before those leaving it until the final declarations stage or even the day of the race. A lot can happen between now and March 2021 but if you believe you have the next winner of the Mares Hurdle picked, there’s nothing stopping you making predictions and Mares Hurdle tips now and backing it with hard cash. The most important thing about antepost Mares Hurdle betting is the sooner you get your money down the better the price will be.

Like any form of gambling, however, antepost betting comes with risks. The main one being the fact you could back a horse to win the Mares Hurdle only to see it entered into a different race or miss the Cheltenham Festival entirely. If that happens you won’t get your stake back and will lose out without ever getting a run for your money. That’s why many punters choose to wait until the non-runner money back promotion comes into play. With this, if your horse doesn’t run in the race you backed it to win your stake will be refunded in full.

Let’s take a look at the current antepost betting, picking out the early favourites, the value available and which bookmakers are offering competition beating price. Remember, backing the right horse is important but so too is getting on at the best odds possible.

Benie Des Dieux (2/1)

The early betting favourite with all major bookmakers is Benie Des Dieux but it’s worth pointing out a difference of opinion exists between the main players over just how strong a favourite she should be.

All the top firms are supporting Benie Des Dieux and expect her to live up to the hype and end as the winner of the 2021 Mares Hurdle, who were is the best play to back the jolly if you believe she will live up to expectations and deliver the goods?

Antepost Odds

Trawling through the many different prices offered by the many different betting sites in the antepost market we find some bookies have been generous enough to trade Benie Des Dieux at a market best price of 2/1, Bet Victor being the main firm. Others, however, prefer to play their cards much closer to their chest at this stage and offer shorter odds. You’ll find as tight as 6/4 on the same result and that’s just too short. There would be no point backing a 2/1 winner at 6/4. That would feel like a loss to any shrewd gambler with an eye on their season profit and loss. If you do intent to back Benie Des Dieux with your hard-earned cash in the Mares Hurdle, then follow our thinking and do it with Bet Victor to ensure your stake money works as hard as possible.

Fix Wins From Seven Starts

This eight-year-old mare is trained by Willie Mullins and he’s a man who knows what it takes to win this race, that’s for sure. He has done so many times in the past and will believe he has what it takes to send out another champion in the shape of Benie Des Dieux. She will certainly take all the beating if entered into the final field and will go with the backing of many casual backers, those more than happy to trust their stake money to Willie Mullins without putting too much thought in.

Benie Des Dieux went into the season with a record reading six wins from her first seven starts and that ensures she leaps off the page at those who like to keep on the right side of the formbook. She got off to a blistering start when winning on debut around Clairefontaine in August 2014 and has progressed since. The only blot on her copybook came when falling last year at the Cheltenham Festival when contesting this very race, a contest eventually won by Roksana for the Skelton team. She was going well two from home and found herself well clear of the chasing pack but blundered late and her race was over.

She was sent off a 10/11 jolly that day and was certainly looking likely to live up to expectations before disaster struck. We will never know just how easily she would have won that race had she stayed on her feet 12 months ago, but followers will get an idea when seeing her return for a second bite of the cherry this time. Benie Des Dieux and her team will be out for revenge with handlers desperate to prove a point and show she is the number one mare at the minute.

Honeysuckle (5/1)

The main danger to Benie Des Dieux, certainly according to the bookmakers, comes in the form of Honeysuckle who is a 5/1 second favourite with William Hill.


Next in line is certainly good enough to cause an upset and win this prize and the generous offer made by the top price is sure to be snapped up. Many bookies are handing out only 4/1 on Honeysuckle and that quote looks much closer to where she should be.

If you can get the 5/1 on a 4/1 runner you should grab it with both hands as often as possible. It’s the value play here, especially if, for whatever reason, Benie Des Dieux doesn’t make the final field for the Mares Hurdle in March. If that’s the case you can expect Honeysuckle’s odds to plummet and the 5/1 will then look like a real steal.

 Five Wins From Five Starts

Honeysuckle went into the 2019/20 campaign with stats showing five wins from as many goes. The five-year-old trained by Henry de Bromhead and owned by Kenneth Alexander started as she meant to go on with a win at Fairyhouse in November 2018 and carried her form onwards. She did the business at Thurles before rhyming off a hat-trick at Fairyhouse. The most recent of them saw Honeysuckle complete the course treble in-a-row when winning a 2m 4f hurdle in November, holding off the attentions of runner up Easy Game with plenty to spare.

The official winning distance that day was an astonishing 11 lengths and that proved to all in attendance and watching the live TV pictures that she’s ready for another step up in class. That’s exactly what we expect handlers to give her this season. If we get the improvement expected between now and March, she will be in with a real shout of winning the Mares Hurdle on the opening day.

Other Runners

Others worth a mention in the antepost betting at this stage are:

  • Roksana at 8/1 with Ladbrokes
  • Apples Jade 10/1 Ladbrokes
  • Laurina 10/1 Betfair
  • Stormy Ireland 16/1 Ladbrokes

and an outsider who should be popular if she goes, Relegate 25/1 at bet365.

You can back the winner of the Mares Hurdle or take a pop each-way and take advantage of 1/5 the odds a place 1-2-3, although some firms may enhance that to four places nearer the time.

Race Stats & Trends

  • Most successful horse is an easy one as we have Quevega on an incredible six titles, achieved between 2009 and 2014. To make that achievement even more astonishing, she did the six wins in-a-row, completely dominating the contest for a half dozen years. At the time there really was no point backing against here and it’s highly unlikely we’ll see a mare dominate this race the way Quevega did during her reign.
  • Leading jockey is Ruby Walsh who has sat on a total of eight winners to date and we’re sure he will do the business on one or two more in the coming years before moving into retirement. Quevega played a huge part in his eight gongs as he rode the great mare in each of her six wins. Ruby Walsh was also in the saddle when Vroum Vroum Mag sped to glory in 2016 and Benie Des Dieux in 2018. There’s not a pilot who knows this race quite as well as Walsh does and he’s always popular with backers.
  • Leading trainer goes to Willie Mullins, another man who enjoys a fantastic reputation around here and is a real favourite of the racing public, especially the Irish travelling over for the Cheltenham Festival. Willie Mullins has trained nine champions so far and that will surely move into double figures before too long. Quevega chipped in with six of nine and there was also wins for Glens Melody in 2015, Vroum Vroum Mag 2016 and Benie Des Dieux 2018.

Mares Hurdle Betting Offers

Offers as the Cheltenham Festival approaches and attentions begin to focus on the Mares Hurdle 2021 you will notice a flood of offers, promotions and specials appear. These are updated every year to ensure they remain fresh, appealing to customers, both new and old, and better than the competition but we can get an idea of what to expect by taking our lead from last year’s festival.

Get ready for free bets, enhanced odds, extra places each-way, money back and plenty more. Below you’ll find a list of Mares Hurdle offers that will be updated regularly throughout the season. Bookmark this page to check back and see what’s available as we approach the off.

Cheltenham Money Back Specials

BoyleSports Cheltenham & Wolverhampton Money Back As A Free Bet If 2nd to the SP Fav
BoyleSports Cheltenham & Wolverhampton Money Back As A Free Bet If 2nd to the SP Fav
Place a bet on any horse race at Cheltenham, Wolverhampton & Gulfstream, on Saturday 14th November. If the horse you back finishes 2nd to the SP favourite, BoyleSports will refund your stake up to £/€20 as a Free Bet. Win or win part of e/w outright singles only. 5 or more runners. 1st bet on each race. Bet type restrictions apply. Free bet expires after 7 days. 18+, full T&Cs apply.
Betfred Money Back if 2nd


T&Cs: Selection must finish 2nd in the selected race(s). Win singles & win part of e/w bets only. Free bets paid within 24 hours, max £10 and removed after 7 days. 5 or more runners must start the race. Full T&Cs Apply.

BoyleSport Money Back If 2nd

Get up to £20 free bet in selected races if your selection finishes 2nd to SP favourite.

18+. UK/IRE customers only. Max refund £/€20. Win or win part of e/w outright singles only. Min field size required. 1st bet on each race. Free bet expires after 7 days. Applies to Ante Post bets placed from 3/3/2020. Free/void/ante post bets don't qualify. T&Cs apply.

Bookmakers Paying Extra Places On 2021 Cheltenham Festival

Ladbrokes Extra Place Races
Ladbrokes Extra Place Races
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BoyleSports Extra Places
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Paddy Power Extra Places On Cheltenham Races (12/03 - Day 3)
Paddy Power Extra Places On Cheltenham Races (12/03 - Day 3)


  • Paying 4 places @ 1/5 odds in the 13:30 (JLT NOVICES CHASE) Cheltenham.
  • Paying 7 places @ 1/5 odds in the 14:10 ( PERTEMPS FINAL HANDICAP HURDLE) Cheltenham. For PP Online Only.
  • Paying 5 places @ 1/5 odds in the 16:10 (BROWN ADVICSORY PLATE) Cheltenham.
  • Paying 4 places @ 1/5 odds in the 16:50 (DAWN RUN MARES’ NOVICES’ HURDLE)Cheltenham.
  • Paying 5 places @ 1/5 odds in the 17:30 (KIM MUIR CHALLENGE CUP) Cheltenham.
  • If there are less than 16 starters, Paddy Power will pay 4 places.
  • If there are less than 8 starters, Paddy Power will pay 3 places.
  • If there are less than 6 starters, Paddy Power will pay 2 places

Bookmakers Offering Non Runner No Bet On 2021 Cheltenham Festival

Ladbrokes Non Runner No Bet
Ladbrokes Non Runner No Bet
Ladbrokes send out non runner money back on your favourite antepost races, limiting the risk of you losing your cash without getting a run for your money. Visit the promotions page or horse racing tab for an updated list.
William Hill Non Runner No Bet
William Hill Non Runner No Bet
William Hill offer non runner money back on the biggest races of the year, including William Hill NRNB Grand National. They made the promo available at Cheltenham Festival 2020 and it proved to be a big hit. Look out for William Hill non runner no bet for Cheltenham 2021.
bet365 Non Runner No Bet
bet365 Non Runner No Bet
2021 NRNB - Awaiting Confirmation
Bet365 was Non Runner No Bet on EVERY Cheltenham Festival race in 2021. We are expecting their Cheltenham 2021 offer to be released in January.Bet up to a year in advance on the biggest races and get non runner money back earlier than most of the competition.

Bookmakers Offering Best Odds Guaranteed On 2021 Cheltenham Festival

BoyleSports Bets Odds Guaranteed Horses
BoyleSports Best Odds Guaranteed
Take an early or board price on any UK or Irish Horse Racing and if the SP is bigger, BoyleSports pays out the best price. Win or EW bets only. Bets placed after the off do not qualify for this promotion, nor do bets placed in-running. 18+ full T&Cs apply.
888Sport Best Odds Guaranteed
888Sport Best Odds Guaranteed
888Sport offers Best Odds Guaranteed on all UK & Irish races, including the Cheltenham Festival 2020
Ladbrokes Horse Racing Best Odds Guaranteed
Ladbrokes Best Odds Guaranteed
Take the price on any UK or Irish Horse races, including early price, board price, singles and multiples. If the SP returns greater, you'll be paid out at the bigger price. Best odds guaranteed is attached to every domestic race on the site, and you’ll also notice this promo added to a collection of the best international races. Never again will you get less of a price on your winner. Ladbrokes offer best odds guaranteed on the Cheltenham Festival as well as the Cheltenham November Meeting. Bet type restrictions apply. Bets placed after the off don't qualify. Offer capped at £50k per customer, per day. 18+, T&Cs apply.

Enhanced Odds Promotions

New customers only. Qualifying bet must be placed at the normal odds • max bet £5 • Extra winnings paid in FREE BETS and added within 72 hrs of qualifying bet settlement • Free bet stakes not included in bet returns • Free bets expire 7 days after credit • This offer may not be combined with any other offer • Full T&C’s apply
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William Hill Double YourOdds
William Hill Double #YourOdds
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Mares Hurdle Betting Guide

Enjoy Perks of Antepost Martket

Antepost betting is the act of getting your cash down before the final field has been confirmed. There’s more risk involved here, of course, as your pick may run in a different race or not at all and you would lose your money, but with most horses the rewards are well worth the risk. Antepost backers get a much bigger price than what will be available to players on the day and if you are sure your pick will run in the Mares Hurdle, it pays to get your stake money down as early as possible.

Get Access to Live Streaming

Live betting and live streaming is available at a host of major bookmakers, including bet365, Coral and Betfair. This has been rolled out to include all UK and Irish horse racing and will include the 2021 Cheltenham Festival. With this modern and exciting feature, you can watch live Cheltenham Festival 2021 races on your desktop computer or mobile app through an HD quality live stream with expert commentary and stylish camera angles. What’s more, if you place a bet on the winner of the race you can follow the live streaming service at no extra cost to you. It’s the modern way to watch horse racing live and means never again will you be forced to check a results service or bet blind.

Mares Hurdle Past Winners

Last 10 Mares Hurdle winners:

2019 Roksana

2018 Benie Des Dieux

2017 Apples Jade

2016 Vroum Vroum Mag

2015 Glens Melody

2014 Quevega

2013 Quevega

2012 Quevega

2011 Quevega

2010 Quevega

What Happened in 2019?

Last year’s race was won by Roksana for jockey Harry Skelton and trainer Dan Skelton and that was the team’s first ever champion in this race. She was also the second seven-year-old winner in two years and the fourth over the course of the last five years. She did the business off a cracking 10/1 and although even backers would admit she was rather fortunate to get the prize money, if this festival has taught us anything over the years its that we can take nothing for granted.

Roksana looked a beaten horse but took full advantage of a late fall for Benie Des Dieux. Even then she made hard work of getting the win, wandering around at the finish, but Skelton was able to rally his mount and get her across the line for what was a stunning win and one that will live long in the memory of those in attendance and watching the live TV pictures.