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Mares Hurdle Tips - 3:40pm Cheltenham

The Close Brothers Mare’s Hurdle (or the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle as it was formerly known) has only been run thirteen times with Ireland winning eleven of those and Willie Mullins taking nine of those eleven. His super mare Quevega won the race six times on the bounce between 2009 and 2014 and that must go down as one of Willie’s greatest training performances. Honeysuckle took last years race in a right battle with Mullin’s Benie Des Dieux who hasn’t been seen since. The race is run over the old course and the mares will race over 2m 3f 200 yards.

Mullins has three of the twelve entries here including current favourite Concertista owned by Simon Munir and Isaac Souede in the familiar double green silks. A comfortable twelve length winner of last season's Mares Novice Hurdle at the Festival, she’s been impressive in winning at Fairyhouse and Leopardstown this season.

Mullins’ other entrants are Great White Sharkand My Sister Sarah - both of whom would have a bit to find on form with his more fancied Concertista.

The best chance the home team have of wrestling away the Irish domination of this race lies with Dan Skelton’s progressive mare Roksana. Her official mark of 153 puts her right in the mix here. Fourth last year beaten 12 lengths she appears to have improved this season scoring at Wetherby when stepping up in trip to three miles and continuing that progression when staying at the trip to finish a highly credible third in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot to the two best stayers around in Paisley Park and Thyme Hill prior to a comfortable victory at Ascot. She’s not been confirmed for this race yet as the talk after Ascot was that she wouldn’t look out of place in the Stayers Hurdle where she would be able to claim that valuable mares allowance.

Nicky Henderson has Dame De Compagnie entered dropping back hurdling following a coupleof runs over fences this season. She won last season's Coral Cup at the Festival and has apparently been pleasing her trainer at Seven Barrows recently.

Henderson also runs Floressa who was way behind Concertista in the Mares Novice Hurdle at last year's Festival and has a bit to find.

Indefatigable is a consistent mare who came late and fast to win the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey's Handicap Hurdle at last season's meeting. She's been a bit disappointing in two efforts this season mind.

Denise Foster will saddle Black Tears, who is only rated 5lb inferior to the favourite Concertista although she finished 12 1/2L behind her at Leopardstown over Christmas receiving 8lb so its hard to believe she will turn the tables despite an emphatic victory at odds on at Punchestown since.

Willie Mullins has an outstanding record in this race winning it nine times and in last season's Mares Noice Hurdle winner Concertista he appears to have found another one to take this prize.

Punters Lounge Tip: Concertista @ 11/8 at Betfred - Click Here To Bet
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