Mares Hurdle Date is 10th March 2020 - 4.50pm
Type: Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle (2m 3f)
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The David Nicholson Mares Hurdle is amongst the most popular races on the Cheltenham Festival calendar and its one that continues to grow in popularity. It draws the interest of both avid followers of the scene and casual supporters, each keen to get a look at the next best mare coming through.
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Mares Hurdle 2020 Preview & Tips
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 2020, all eyes will be on the Mares Hurdle when the field line-up on Tuesday 10 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 2020 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 2020 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 2020 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?
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.
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.
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 2020 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.
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 2020 Cheltenham Festival. With this modern and exciting feature, you can watch live Cheltenham Festival 2020 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:
2018 Benie Des Dieux
2017 Apples Jade
2016 Vroum Vroum Mag
2015 Glens Melody
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.