Cheltenham - At The Races

16:10 Cheltenham 13 Mar 2018

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

Winner £67,524 - 9 ran


2m 3f 200y

Heavy (Soft in places)

View Course Guide

Weighed In

Gary Nutting
by Gary Nutting

Published 6th February

KAYF GRACE has loads of untapped potential ahead of her possible next run at Newbury this weekend and could prove the ‘dark horse’ for the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle.

Nicky Henderson’s lightly raced 8yo is among the market leaders for the fiercely competitive Betfair Hurdle, in which just hitting the frame would rate as a good performance against the boys.

Whether she takes in that race on route to Cheltenham or not, she’s already one to be interested in back against her own gender following her stylish success in open handicap company at Kempton over Christmas.

That was only her third start over hurdles - she ran too free on her first run for nearly a year when a disappointing favourite at Ascot previously - and confirmed the promise of her debut victory in this sphere last season.

Closely related to Denman and other staying sorts on her dam’s side, there is every chance she will relish the stiffer stamina test.

Prior to that she had shown very smart bumper form culminating in a gutsy win over hot favourite Augusta Kate in the mares’ race at Aintree.

The Willie Mullins-trained mare beat her stablemate Let’s Dance at Fairyhouse last Easter and that one is second favourite behind odds-on title holder Apple’s Jade here, which adds further lustre to the selection’s prospects.

Kayf Grace clearly needs to step up again if she’s to trouble the favourite but apart from her obvious scope for improvement experience wise, the move up to 2m 4f could also bring significant progress.

Closely related to Denman and other staying sorts on her dam’s side, there is every chance she will relish the stiffer stamina test.

Henderson has another interesting entry in the more experienced Verdana Blue, who already boasts smart open handicap form and could be dangerous back in mares-only company.

But the trainer has described her as “speedy” and “a two-miler”, which would have to be a concern for her over this longer trip.

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

OLBG MARES' HURDLE (Tuesday 13th March)

1pt win KAYF GRACE (20/1 Betfair Sportsbook, William Hill OR 12/1 bet365, Paddy Power (Non-Runner No Bet)

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
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
2008 Good to Soft 13 Whiteoak 5 11 0 - 0-23121 27 days D McCain (62 miles) J Maguire 20/1 5:01.40