Quevega’s superiority in the last four years of this race deserves its recognition writes Milesey. The nine-year-old has not run since winning at Punchestown in April but looked in perfect shape this week when she galloped with another long-term absentee, Fiveforthree, and two other stablemates. Unaccompanied is a mare that has regularly been campaigned over 2m, compared with the extra 4f of the Mares’ Hurdle. However, the fact that she finished second in the Triumph Hurdle at the last Cheltenham Festival and is a Grade One winner over hurdles meant that she was most likely to put up a challenge to Quevega. Une Artiste was victorious on both her previous starts at Cheltenham, most notably when landing the Fred Winter at odds of 40/1 last season.
Last year’s runner-up Kentford Grey Lady is in the list along with Paul Webber’s Alasi, Donald McCain’s She Ranks Me and David Pipe’s Swing Bowler. Swing Bowler, who lost her unbeaten record behind My Tent Or Yours at Newbury on her latest start, and Henderson’s other entry Ma Filleule might both run for a place while Kentford Grey Lady, trained by Emma Lavelle, chased home the Cheltenham queen 12 months ago and is set to renew rivalry.
Tarla, a stable companion of Quevega, also features among the declarations along with a third Mullins entrant in Zuzka.
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