Cheltenham day 1 tips and betting preview of the Mares Hurdle on Tuesday 15th March 2016 where the current favourite is Vroum Vroum Mag.
The Mares Hurdle is the final Grade 1 on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. Last season, punters were heartbroken when Annie Power fell at the final fence when well clear of the field and they'll be hoping to take revenge on bookmakers this time around.
2016 Mares Hurdle Betting Preview
With Annie Power likely to go down the Champion Hurdle route, Vroum Vroum Mag looks to be Willie Mullin's main protagonist in the race. The daughter-of-Voix Du Nord was thought of as a viable Ryanair Chase contender at the start of the season and its somewhat surprising connections have switched her to small obstacles. Nonetheless, she's a classy mare who looks head and shoulder above her rivals. She came over for the Grade 2 Warfield Mares' Hurdle in January and dispatched the field, winning by three-and-a-half lengths with Ruby Walsh only having to give his mount a shake of the reigns to win readily. Her price represents her chances in the race and it's well worth finding a horse who can be put in a forecast with her.
Polly Peachum benefited from Annie Power's fall last year to take the runners-up spoils in the race. Nicky Henderson's daughter-of-Shantou is as honest as they come and won the Listed Select Hurdle at Sandown against the boys in her final start of last season. Polly Peachum needed the run in her first start of the campaign at Kempton and came on leaps and bounds for the run, and won a Listed Mares' Hurdle in January when carrying top weight. Now eight-year-old, she looks to be maturing and Henderson will no doubt have her spot on for this.
Aurore D'estruval is a lightly-race six-year-old who has a very likeable attitude. The daughter-of-Nickname was a game 10-length winner in a Listed Mares' contest at Wetherby in 2014 and then pushed the 160-rated Irving to the limit in the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle, before winning at Sandown. She was off the track for just under a year before making her reappearance in the Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day but could not lay a glove on winner Camping Ground and finished fourth. She also beat just one home behind Vroum Vroum Mag last time out; however, she was stepping up to three miles for the first time on soft ground and she was clearly not suited by the task that opposed her. Back on decent ground over two-and-a-half miles, she should improve plenty and looks capable of finishing in the places for an each-way Mares Hurdle tip on day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival.
The Govaness was also no match for Vroum Vroum Mag at Ascot. Richard Newland's mare is, however, twice a course winner which were both on good ground. She has form to reverse with the likes of Mullins' star, as well as Polly Peachum from Sandown and this may be just slightly above her limits.
One horse who may be overpriced is Stephanie Frances. She could not take to fences whatsoever but does have a win at Cheltenham on her record. She pushed Champion Hurdle contender The New One to his limits at Kempton at the start of the season and, if she can produce a similar performance, she'll be right in the mix.
For my Cheltenham tip on the Mares Hurdle I cannot look past Vroum Vroum Mag who looks a near certainty for this but if Aurore D'estruval bounces back to her best, she could well chase Mullins' hotpot home. At the prices, Stephanie Frances also looks tempting for an each-way bet.
Cheltenham Day 1 Tips for the Mares Hurdle
Vroum Vroum Mag to win – 11/10 with Paddy Power.
Stephanie Frances each-way – 33/1 with Bet365.
Open a new 888Sport account and get a massive 54/1 (instead of 18/1) for Min, Annie Power and Vroum Vroum Mag all to win on day 1 of Cheltenham 2016.