Cheltenham - At The Races

16:10 Cheltenham 12 Mar 2019

OLBG Mares' Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle) (Class 1) (4YO plus)

Winner £70,563 - 14 ran

5

2m 3f 200y

Soft

View Course Guide

Weighed In

Gary Nutting
by Gary Nutting

Published 9th February

MIA’S STORM has the class to hit the frame in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle assuming one or two of the current market leaders are diverted elsewhere.

At the time of writing both Apple’s Jade and Laurina are being talked of as serious Champion Hurdle contenders, while last year’s winner Benie Des Dieux has not been sighted since winning at Punchestown in April.

Willie Mullins won’t have any qualms about sending the last-named straight to the Festival given Quevega gained four of her five wins in this race on the back of similar absences, but a top-priced 2-1 makes little ante-post appeal.

The each-way value may lie with Mia’s Storm now she’s back over hurdles after falling on two of her four chase starts last season.

Her career over fences began with plenty of promise - beating subsequent RSA Chase third/Ladbrokes Trophy second/Welsh National winner Elegant Escape at Chepstow and following up in a Mares’ Listed event at Market Rasen.

Now rated 148 in this sphere - a pound lower than her top chase mark - there could be more improvement to come from a mare who has won her last four hurdle starts in highly progressive style.

But jumping issues surfaced in the Kauto Star at Kempton - for which she started favourite - and it was a similar story at Ayr’s Scottish National meeting.

Alan King’s 9yo has made a smooth return to hurdles though, defying a market drift on her reappearance under top weight in a Uttoxeter handicap and justifying odds-on favouritism back in Listed company at Kempton.

Now rated 148 in this sphere - a pound lower than her top chase mark - there could be more improvement to come from a mare who has won her last four hurdle starts in highly progressive style (first handicap win came off 121 just over two years ago).

She goes very well fresh, so her absence since November isn’t a concern, and if she gets her favoured ground (no easier than good to soft) her high cruising speed should enable her to cope with the drop back to 2m4f, especially if it’s strongly run.

Gary's Recommended Bet (scale 1-5 points):

OLBG MARES' HURDLE (Tuesday 12th March)

0.5pt each-way MIA’S STORM (25-1 Betfair Sportsbook, Bet Victor, Ladbrokes)

Gary provides regular ante-post updates on Twitter. His username is @horsetraderinfo

Previous Winners
Year Going Ran Winner Draw Age Weight OR Form Last run Trainer (Distance) Jockey SP Time
2018 Heavy 9 Benie Des Dieux 7 11 5 - 6331-11 31 days W P Mullins R Walsh 9/2 5:10.10
2017 Good to Soft 17 Apple's Jade 5 11 5 - 1-12212 20 days G Elliott B J Cooper 7/2 4:50.20
2016 Good to Soft 19 Vroum Vroum Mag 7 11 5 - 111-111 52 days W P Mullins R Walsh 4/6 4:45.00
2015 Good to Soft 15 Glens Melody 7 11 5 - 2-47521 31 days W P Mullins P Townend 6/1 4:51.10
2014 Good to Soft 16 Quevega 10 11 5 - 1111-11 320 days W P Mullins R Walsh 8/11 4:44.40
2013 Soft 19 Quevega 9 11 5 - 111-111 320 days W P Mullins R Walsh 8/11 4:55.50
2012 Good 19 Quevega 8 11 5 - 39111-1 313 days W P Mullins R Walsh 4/7 4:31.30
2011 Good 14 Quevega 7 11 5 - 11-3911 327 days W P Mullins R Walsh 5/6 4:48.20
2010 Good to Soft 17 Quevega 6 11 5 - 9311-39 296 days W P Mullins R Walsh 6/4 4:45.20
2009 Good to Soft 21 Quevega 5 11 3 - 1119-31 20 days W P Mullins R Walsh 2/1 4:55.20