THIS race is a relatively new addition to the festival and as the years go on no doubt it will grow in prestige and quality.
I had my eye on CONCERTISTA for the handicaps this year but she goes here now. Her form has been franked on Wednesday with Black Tears running a stormer only to lose to a horse who had appealed to have her handicap mark dropped two pounds (don’t get me started on that by the way). Concertista ran really well in third behind Black Tears that day and she should be on to run a massive race in this company.
I have tweeted out on Wednesday afternoon so that people can grab the prices before they go. Currently some 15-2 and 7-1 available but I’ll call it 13-2 because I expect that to go quickly.
COLREEVY (4.50) can prove a rewarding each-way selection in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.
Favourite Minella Melody carries a 5lb penalty, which is a slight negative, but she has won all three starts for Henry de Bromhead, the latest coming in a Grade 3 at Fairyhouse in January when giving weight and a beating to Mullins’ pair Colreevy and Dolcita.
Colreevy beat Abacadabras in a Punchestown bumper last spring and jockey bookings suggest she is favoured slightly over Dolcita.
They have both won easily on heavy ground, so conditions shouldn’t be a problem. Nicky Henderson’s Floressa looks best of the home contingent.
In the short history of this race, Willie Mullins has saddled every single winner.
Last year it was his 6th or 7th string who won at odds of 50/1, so it’s well worth heavily studying every horse of his. The one who has taken my fancy is DOLCITA, who is the most unexposed of his runners, only having two runs for Willie since coming from G Macaire’s yard in France.
Her recent third to Minella Melody in the Grade 3 was a good effort, where she travelled through the race like the winner, but jumped the last with no fluency and that cost her that race.
She’s not been seen since, and I imagine she has been schooled immensely and will have progressed nicely.
She’s slightly shorter priced than I hoped for, currently sitting at around 7/1, but with 4 places on offer I’d be happy enough to play her EW.
The main danger would have to be Concertista who finished second in this race last year on her first ever start over hurdles at odds of 66/1. Her recent run will set her up nicely for this, as she finished behind Black Tears, who finished second at Cheltenham today.
She’s been heavily backed over the last 24 hours, and I feel like Dolcita is much better value, especially as she’s only had the two runs for Willie.
There are a lot of nice mares in this race, and I wouldn’t put anyone off going for something different in what looks to be a cracking, but very open race.
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