4.40 Mares’ Hurdle Race Only introduced onto the card in 2008, the former David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle, now called OLBG Mares’ Hurdle, gives four year old (and above) Mares the chance to battle it out to see who is the Queen of the first day of Cheltenham’s meeting. Leading Irish trainer WillieMullins has confirmed that Quevega is roaring ahead of her trip to the Cheltenham Festival for the OLBG Mares Hurdle. The mare will be looking to make it three consecutive victories in the race and it will be the first time the eight-year-old has been seen on the course this season. Quevega is right on course for her Cheltenham Festival five-timer bid after a gentle workout at Leopardstown racecourse. Trainer Willie Mullins declared himself “very happy” with the history-seeking nine-year-old, who is attempting to become the first horse since Golden Miller in the 1930s to win the same event at the Cheltenham Festival five times when she lines up for the OLBG David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle.
Quevega galloped with another long-term absentee, Fiveforthree, and two other stablemates.
Mullins said: “We just brought them for a day out really. The intention was to just canter round for one circuit as they will work again during the week. They have been off the course for a long time so we just did it to knock the fizz out of them really. Fiveforthree certainly was fresh.
“I was very happy with them but there was nothing informative. All it told us was that they are alive and kicking.
“Katie Walsh rode Quevega because she rides her at home and Davy Condon rode Fiveforthree. I had been looking at the World Hurdle for him again but I’m considering the Coral Cup also.”
Dessie Hughes also took a few to the organised gallop, although there were far fewer in action than in previous years.
However, Hughes’ big Triumph Hurdle hope Our Conor had a spin along with Posiden Sea (Bumper) and Minsk.
“I was very pleased with all three,” said Hughes. “Posiden Sea won a bumper at Clonmel well and was then second to a nice horse (Outlander) at Leopardstown in December.
“Minsk seemed to really love the better ground and Our Conor was great, I couldn’t be more pleased with him. He looked very strong and came up between horses and seems in good nick.
“Most of the work has now been done with them, it’s just a case of freshening them up now.”