• Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle

    (The David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle)

    All winners have been bay mares.

    37 out of the last 39 win and placed had won over at least 2 + 1/2 miles.

    10 of the 14 winners already placed at least in an open G2.

    No winner of this began their career on the Flat in GB or Ireland

    Vroom Vroom Mag and Quevega '10-'14 had at least 6lb in hand on handicap ratings

    Willie Mullins has trained nine of the last 13 winners (and Benie Des Dieux F).

    Only Black Tears wore headgear of those win or placed in the last 13.

    Last 13 winners all came from the front four in the market.

    Six of the last seven favourites beaten, biggest price of those beaten - 6/4.

    Last 13 rated 140+

    Summary

    Race Distance - 2 miles and abt 4 furlongs. A page that hasn't taken that much updating over the years. Quevega won it a lot, Annie Power and Benie Des Dieux would have hacked home, Vroum Vroum Mag had a leisurely stretch in 2016 and in 2017 Apples Jade just beat off Vroum Vroum and Limini. In 2018 Apples Jade surprisingly turned over by Benie Des Dieux. Nightmare for Ruby in 2019 and Willie not that pleased with his jockeys in 2020 or with Concertista in 2021?

     
    Winner and all placed horses previously won over at least 2 and a half miles. Irish trained will get placed as well. Winner or placed unlikely to be wearing headgear. Didn't start career on UK and Ire Flat. A short priced favourite is due to win (or either a real fat one). G2 placed form in open company becoming a must. Check Quevega Hurdle Punchestown 20th Feb. Check your sires.
  • Honours Board

    Year||| Form||| Winner||| Age||| OR||| SP||| Trainer||| Jockey||| Runners |||Last race (No of days)

    2021 ||| 331 ||| Black Tears ||| 7 ||| 148||| 11/1 |||Denise Foster(IRE) ||| J Kennedy ||| 11 ||| 1st G3 Punch Quevega Hdle (15)

    2020||| 111||| Honeysuckle||| 6||| 158||| 9/4||| H de Bromhead(IRE) ||| R Blackmore ||| 9 ||| 1st G1 Leop Irish Champion (38)

    2019||| 3||| Roksana |||7||| 142 |||10/1 |||D Skelton |||H Skelton |||14 |||3rd Listed Sandown Contenders 2m (38)

    2018||| 11||| Benie des Dieux |||7 |||147||| 9/2 |||W Mullins(IRE) |||R Walsh |||9 |||1st Listed Naas Opera Hat M Ch 2m (31)

    2017||| 12212||| Apple's Jade|||5||| 153||| 7/2 |||G Elliott(IRE)||| B Cooper |||17||| 2nd Listed M F'house Quevega Hdle (20)

    2016||| 111||| Vroum Vroum Mag||| 7||| 154||| 4/6F |||W Mullins(IRE)||| R Walsh ||| 19 |||1st G2 M Ascot Warfield Hdle 3m (52)

    2015 |||47521||| Glens Melody||| 7 |||150||| 6/1||| W Mullins(IRE)||| P Townend ||| 15 |||1st Listed M Warwick Hdle 2m 5f (31)

    2014||| -||| Quevaga ||| 10 |||167||| 8/11F |||W Mullins(IRE) |||R Walsh||| 16||| 1st G1 P'town World Hdle 3m (320)

    2013||| - ||| Quevega |||9||| 163 |||8/11F |||W Mullins(IRE) |||R Walsh |||19 |||1st G1 P'town World Hdle 3m (320)

    2012||| - ||| Quevega ||| 8 ||| 158||| 4/7F |||W Mullins(IRE)||| R Walsh |||19 |||1st G1 P'town World Hdle 3m (313)

  • Evidence

    First run 2008. Upgraded to G1 in 2015.

     

    Apart from Whiteoak 2008, L'Unique 2014 and Legacy Gold 2016 all the other 36 win and placed had previously won over at least 2 and 1/2 miles. Whiteoak had been winner last time out and had placed form in a G2 Novice hurdle. L'Unique had won a 4yr G1 at Aintree.

     

    Whiteoak, a 5 yr old, held on to win the inaugural running when Refinement pulled herself up in the final furlong. Seems a long time ago.

     

    Quevega hacked home 6 times between 2009 and 2014, her final win achieved as a 10 yr old. A fantastic training performance. 'In command' was the phrase used about her in RP race notes 2014. Exactly the same phrase used about the racing positions of Annie Power and Benie Des Dieux before misfortune befell both at the last hurdle in 2015 and 2019 respectively. 'In command' would describe Quevega's relationship with this race. In '09 she had won last time out, '10 she won by 4l after returning from injury. In 2011, on her first run for 327 days, she wins by 10l and in my view more checks should have been carried out to prove that she hadn't joined in at halfway. In 2012 it was only 313 days off so the rest of them decided to jog for over 2 miles and sprint up the hill. She wins by 4 lengths. 'Readily' was an understatement. I did suggest in 2013 that 'Maybe they should tie her back legs together and start her pointing in the opposite direction'. Well, she got hampered, shuffled back and nearly fell on the flat at the top of the hill. She touched 4s with Betfair, and still won, 'going away'. Finished like Nijinsky (relatively) over the final 3 furlongs. In 2014 it did look for a split second that Glens Melody might have got away from her as they came round the corner. Yes, for a split second.

     

    In 2014 Quevega rated 167, 22lbs higher than the second top rated Cockney Sparrow on 145.

     

    They all carry 11st 5lb.

     

    Ratings - As seen from the Board above - Last year Black Tears 148 from Concertista 153, 2020 Honeysuckle 158, Benie Des Dieux 158, Elfile 151. 2019 Benie Des Dieux (F) 151, Roksana 142, Stormy Ireland 148. 2018 Benie Des Dieux 147, Midnight Tour 145, Apple's Jade 158. 2017 Apples Jade 153, Vroum Vroum Mag and Limini both 154. Next best 144. 2016 Vroum Vroum rated 154. Next two top rated Bitofapuzzle 148 and Desert Queen 147 both flopped. 2015 Annie Power (F) rated 162, Polly Peachum only 7lb behind on 155 and Glens Melody, the winner, on 150.

     

    Irish trained - 12 wins, seven runners up, eight thirds and a fourth from a total of 70 runners. W Mullins has nine wins. Last year, Black Tears, in the care of Denise Foster, nutted Willie's Concertista on the line. Honeysuckle in 2020 was Henry de Bromhead's first ever runner in the race. Dan Skelton (fortunate) in 2019 only UK trainer to take this since Donald McCain won the very first one in 2008. Irish 1-2 last year from 4 of the 11 runners, 1-2-3 in 2020 from 5 of the 10 runners. Had the front three in the market on that occasion.

     

    PRICE - Black Tears 11s, Honeysuckle 9/4 2nd fav, Roksana 10/1 4th fav (behind Willie's front three) Benie Des Dieux second fav at 9/2, Apples Jade won as third favourite at 7/2. Going backwards from 2016, the three Mullins hotpots had the SPs of 4/6, 1/2 (F), 8/11 (twice) 4/7, 5/6, 6/4 and 2/1. All favourites. Quevega and Apple's Jade won this as a five year olds, Benie Des Dieux was a seven year old. Biggest priced Irish trained winner is Glens Melody at 6/1. Roksana the first winner outside front three in the betting since Whiteoak '08.

     

    None of the last five favourites have won. That does seem odd for this level weights Mares Race. Vroom Vroom Mag beaten at 6/4 in 2017. Five other odds on shots turned over in the last seven renewals. Short Priced fav DUE. The second favourite has been placed 7 times in the fourteen races.

     

    Apples Jade (turned over at 2/5 Punchestown Quevega Mares Hurdle) only BF last time to win this.

     

    Apple's Jade, Quevega and Whiteoak only five yr olds to win this. Apple's Jade and Honeysuckle the only ones to do Hattons Grace double in the same season. Apple's Jade the first four year old ever to win a Hattons Grace. Won three of them. Another wonderful mare.

     

    12 of the 14 winners had won or placed in an open Graded Race, exceptions being Vroom Vroom Mag and Benie Des Dieux. 10 in at least a G2. Black Tears previously 2nd in 2020 G3 Coral Cup. Only Black Tears had yet to be placed in any G2. Came here from winning a G3 and had finished 4th of 22 in a Festival Mares G2 Novice.

     

    The OLBG Mares Hurdle at Ascot registered as the Warfield has been a fair trial, if not recently. Vroum Vroum Mag won it en route to success here. Three runners in it finished second to Quevega. United and Sparky May won at Ascot before finishing second here. Both Kentford Grey Lady 2012 and Refinement 2008 finished second in both races in the same season. Ran over soft ground in 2017, Le Bague Au Roi won easy at Ascot but disappointed here. Magic Of Light didn't come to this the last two years, might suggest Jessica didn't believe she had the class. And Aintree beckoned. Molly Ollys Wishes

     

    Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown 20th Feb saw Limini beat Apple's Jade in 2017, places reversed here. 2016 Legacy Gold has been placed in both, 40/1 here. 2018 Merie Devie didn't come here. 2019 Stormy Ireland finished second in both. 2020 Elfile won at Punchestown, third here. 1 March 2021 won by Black Tears. Burning Victory leads from start to finish.

     

    No winner began their career on the Flat in GB or Ireland.


    Apart from Quevega only other to finish in the first three more than once are Roksana 2021, Benie Des Dieux 2020, Glens Melody 2015.

     

    SIRES - The following sires have yet to produce the winner despite numerous representatives. Kayf Tara, Midnight Legend (both 0 wins from 9 runners), Alflora, Beneficial or Fleminsfirth (all 0 from 7 each).

     

    Headgear winners are 1 from 28 Black Tears 11/1 in her usual cheekpieces. No others placed. Perhaps Concertistata could have done with them.

     

     

    Used to be sponsored by on line betting guide. See https://www.olbg.com/blogs/mares-hurdle

     

     

     

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Wealth Warning.  Any decisions made (or not) or the basis of any information in this site are the sole responsibility of the reader.  There is no obligation on me to follow my own advice.  I take no responsibility for (but am keen to hear of) any factual errors.  (Bgault01@gmail.com, @gaultstats). Previous years ‘stats on stats’ would suggest we may identify a decent priced winner from manageable groups every three or four races.  It is believed that Savello (2014 Grand Annual) took from Golden Chieftain (2013 3m hcap chase) the record for breaking the most stats in a race.  Stands now at 8.  Cole Harden equalised with 8 in the 2015 World Hurdle.  Remember, after you have cursed/laughed at me and given up totally on trends, they will come back to bite.  Always happens.  Usually on Gold Cup Day. 

Beware GO SEA - Groundless Optimism Syndrome Encouaged by Alcohol.  A Cotswold condition very common at this time of year.