• Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle

    (The David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle)

    Quevega and Honeysuckle, the only winners older than 7 yrs had won it before

    Quevega 2009 and Apples Jade 2017, the last two five year old winners. Both had already won very decent 2m 4f races.

    Only three mares ever placed had not already won over at least 2m 4f

    Whiteoak 2008 only winner not to have won over 2m 4f

    No winner of the Mares Novice has won this

    13 of the 16 winners already placed at least in an open Graded race

    12 of the 16 won last time out

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

    Seven of the 16 had at least 6lb in hand on handicap ratings

    Willie Mullins has trained nine of the last 15 winners (and Benie Des Dieux F). But no winner since 2018

    Only Black Tears 2021 wore headgear of those win or placed in last 15.

    14 of the last 15 winners all came from the front four in the market

    Seven of the last eight clear favourites beaten, biggest price of six of those beaten was - 6/4.

    Last 15 rated 140+


    Race Distance - 2 miles and abt 4 furlongs. A page that used to not take much updating over the years but WPM hasn't won any of the last five and has nothing placed in the last two. Quevega won it a lot, Annie Power and Benie Des Dieux would have hacked home, Vroum Vroum Mag had a leisurely stretch in 2016. 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 GB and Ire Flat. A short priced favourite is due to win. G2 placed form in open company becoming a must. Check Quevega Hurdle Punchestown 20th Feb. Last year was just marvellous. Horses get placed in this more than once.

  • Honours Board

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

    2023 ||| 32 ||| Honeysuckle ||| 9 ||| 159 ||| 9/4jtF ||| H de Bromhead (IRE) ||| R Blackmore ||| 9 ||| 2nd G1 Irish Champion (37)

    2022 ||| 371P1 ||| Marie's Rock ||| 7 ||| 140 ||| 18/1 ||| N Henderson ||| N de Boinville ||| 12 ||| 1st Warwick M Listed 2m 5f (31)

    2021 ||| 331 ||| Black Tears ||| 7 ||| 148 ||| 11/1 ||| D 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)

  • Evidence

    First run 2008. Upgraded to Grade 1 in 2015.


    TRIP - Apart from Whiteoak 2008, L'Unique 2014 and Legacy Gold 2016 all the other 42 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.


    Quevega 2009 (her first win), and Apples Jade 2017 are the last five yr olds to have won this. Quevega came here from winning an open 12k 2m 4f hurdle at Punchestown Feb on 18th Feb, Apples Jade had won the Hattons Grace as a four year old. Lossiemouth.


    Whiteoak, a five 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 was rated 167, 22lbs higher than the second top rated Cockney Sparrow on 145.


    They all carry 11st 5lb.



    AGE - Honeysuckle at 9 yrs joined Quevega at 8, 9 and 10 to be the only winners older than 7 yrs. Both previous winners. Brandy Love is 8 yrs old, Marie's Rock, Queens Brook are 9 yrs,


    Ratings - As seen from the Board above - Last year Honeysuckle was 6lb clear of the rest. (It all seems so easy now, Mr Dineen?) In 2022 Marie's Rock was the third lowest rated of the 12 on 140, joint top rated were two unplaced from WPM, Stormy Ireland and Echoes In Rain. 2021 it was Black Tears 148 Concertista 153,  2020 Honeysuckle 158, Benie Des Dieux 162, 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.


    To summarise, seven of the 16 winners plus Annie Power (F) had at least 6lbs in hand on the field. Benie (F) had 3 lbs.


    Irish trained - Five of the nine runners last year, seven of the 12 runners in 2022, best then were Queens Brook 2nd, Mrs Milner 3rd. That makes it 13 wins, eight runners up, 10 thirds and two fourths from a total of 82 runners. W Mullins has nine wins but none of the last five. 2021, 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 2021 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 - Marie's Rock 18s, 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 has been Glens Melody at 6/1. Roksana was the first winner outside front three in the betting since Whiteoak '08.


    Honeysuckle last year was 9/4 jt fav with Maries Rock (7th). None of the last six clear 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 nine renewals. Short Priced fav DUE. The second favourite has been placed eight times in the 16 races. Not last year. Queens Brook 4/1 second 2022.


    Apples Jade in 2017 (turned over at 2/5 Punchestown Quevega Mares Hurdle) only BF last time to win this. Gala Marceau


    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. No five yr olds ran in either of the last two renewals.


    14 of the 16 winners had won against the geldings. 11 of those can in Grade 1 or 2. Exceptions include Maries Rock Vroom Vroom Mag and Benie Des Dieux. Black Tears previously 2nd in 2020 G3 Coral Cup. Only Marie's Rock and Black Tears had yet to be placed in any G2. The former came from winning the Warwick Listed, and the latter came here from winning a G3 and had finished 4th of 22 in a Festival Mares G2 Novice.


    The 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, might suggest Jessica didn't believe she had the class. And Aintree beckoned. Last three yrs no contenders.


    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. 2021 won by Black Tears. 2022 Burning Victory a disappointing ninth here at 6/1. Last year Queens Brook won, has been placed in last two editions of this. Hispanic Moon.


    12 of the 16 won last time out. The exceptions are Honeysuckle last year, Roksanna, Apples Jade and Quevega before her second win. She had been 9th at Auteuil the previous summer.


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

    Apart from Quevega, others to finish in the first three more than once are Honeysuckle, Queens Brook, Roksana 2021, Benie Des Dieux 2020, Glens Melody 2015. Becoming a trend?


    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). Marie's Rock by Milan.


    HEADGEAR - Winners are one from 29 Black Tears 11/1 in her usual cheekpieces. No others placed. Perhaps Concertista could have done with them.