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Mares Hurdle Entries 2017
Sat, Dec 31st, 2016

Annie Power and Vroum Vroum Mag given OLBG Mares' Hurdle option

Willie Mullins, who has dominated the race, is responsible for 15 of the record 53 entries for the £110,000 Grade One OLBG Mares' Hurdle on the first day of The Festival, Champion Day, Tuesday, March 14.

The Mullins team includes 2015 last hurdle faller and 2016 Stan James Champion Hurdle scorer Annie Power and last year's OLBG Mares' Hurdle winner Vroum Vroum Mag, plus unbeaten novice Airlie Beach, Let's Dance and Limini, who captured the G2 Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle at The Festival in 2016. Mullins has won eight of the nine runnings of the OLBG Mares' Hurdle, with the legendary Quevega scoring a record six times.

A record 22 Irish-trained contenders for the race also include last season's JCB Triumph Hurdle runner-up Apple's Jade (Gordon Elliott), who beat Vroum Vroum Mag in the G1 Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse in December, and dual G1 scorer Jer's Girl (Gavin Cromwell).

Among the potential home challengers are Kotkikova (Nicky Henderson) and Dusky Legend (Alan King), second to Limini last year, and Rons Dream (Peter Bowen), plus progressive novices Colin's Sister (Fergal O'Brien) and Happy Diva (Kerry Lee).

This year sees the 10th running of the OLBG Mares' Hurdle (for the David Nicholson Trophy), which was upgraded to be a Grade One contest in 2015. Previously a Grade Two race, it was named in memory of the legendary Cotswold-based jockey and trainer, who passed away in August, 2006. OLBG, the online sports betting community, sponsored for the first time in 2012.

"The Duke" enjoyed five successes at The Festival as a jockey between 1963 and 1973, but is best known for his 17 victories as a trainer, including wins in the Queen Mother Champion Chase (1994 & 1995 Viking Flagship), Stayers' Hurdle (Anzum 1999) and Cheltenham Gold Cup (1988 Charter Party).

Nicholson became the first trainer for more than 50 years to saddle three winners in a day at The Festival when Putty Road (Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle), Viking Flagship (Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase) and Kadi (Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate) all triumphed on March 15, 1995.

There were 19 runners in 2012, 2013 and 2016, while the smallest field of 13 went to post in 2008. The race has a safety limit of 24.

Quevega dominates the roll of honour, having captured six of the nine runnings– 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. The Willie Mullins-trained mare became the first horse to win a race six times at The Festival in 2014, beating the record she previously shared with Golden Miller, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on five occasions between 1932 and 1936.

Willie Mullins saddled Quevega to all six of her victories and the trainer has an amazing eight wins in the race in total, with Glens Melody scoring in 2015 and Vroum Vroum Mag taking the spoils in 2016. Donald McCain is the only other trainer to have won the race with Whiteoak in 2008.

Ruby Walsh has partnered the winner on seven occasions, having ridden Quevega on each of her six victories and been aboard Vroum Vroum Mag last year.

Quevega was sent off favourite for all six of her successes, and was the shortest-priced winner in 2012 at odds of 4/7. Whiteoak sprung a surprise in 2008 as she scored at 20/1.

Irish-handler Willie Mullins has saddled eight of the nine winners courtesy of Quevega (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014), Glens Melody (2015) and Vroum Vroum Mag (2016).

As well as sponsoring this race, OLBG supports a series of mares' hurdles as part of the OLBG Mares' Road to the Cheltenham Festival.

The exploits of Quevega in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle have been recognised by Cheltenham Racecourse with Quevaga's, a bar situated at the top of the paddock which was opened at The Open in November, 2014.

Annie Power saved bookmakers an estimated £50 million when falling, with the race at her mercy, at the final flight in the 2015 OLBG Mares' Hurdle. Sent off the 1/2 favourite, Annie Power was bidding to become the fourth Willie Mullins-trained and Ruby Walsh-ridden horse to triumph on the opening day of The Festival following the victories of Douvan (2/1F) Un De Sceaux (4/6F) and Faugheen (4/5F) earlier on the card. Mullins did gain some compensation as he also trained the winning mare, Glens Melody.

OLBG Mares' Hurdle
Grade 1, £110,000 Total Prize Fund. 4.10pm, Tuesday, March 14, two and a half miles (2m 3f 200y). For four-year- olds and upwards, fillies and mares. Weights: 4yo: 10st 10lb; 5yo+: 11st 5lb. Entries closed January 17, entries revealed January 19 (53 entries). Scratchings deadline February 14, £5,000 supplementary entry stage & six-day confirmation stage March 8, final declarations 10am, March 12.


Horse Age Owner Trainer
AIRLIE BEACH (IRE) 7 Supreme Horse Racing Club/K Sharp Willie Mullins IRE
AL REESHA (IRE) 6 N W Lake Dan Skelton
ANNIE POWER (IRE) 9 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
APPLE'S JADE (FR) 5 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
ASTHURIA (FR) 6 George Creighton Willie Mullins IRE
AUGUSTA KATE 6 The Masters Syndicate Willie Mullins IRE
BARRA (FR) 6 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
BENIE DES DIEUX (FR) 6 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
BON CHIC (IRE) 8 Bowes Lodge Stables Jimmy Moffatt
BRIERY QUEEN 8 Helen Plumbly & Kathryn Leadbeater Noel Williams
CAMELIA DE COTTE (FR) 5 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
COLIN'S SISTER 6 Caroline Beresford-Wylie Fergal O'Brien
COLLA PIER (IRE) 8 David Peter Dunne David Dunne IRE
CRACK TIEPY (FR) 5 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
DEBDEBDEB 7 The Sea Breeze Partnership Dan Skelton
DESERT QUEEN 9 The Jago Family Partnership Harry Fry
DUSKY LEGEND 7 Richard & Lizzie Kelvin-Hughes Alan King
GRAPE TREE FLAME 9 F Lloyd Peter Bowen
GROOVEJET 6 Phil Cunningham Richard Spencer
HAPPY DIVA (IRE) 6 Will Roseff Kerry Lee
HIDDEN IDENTITY (IRE) 11 Paul Bowtell Tim Vaughan
INDIAN STREAM 8 Mrs G Davies Neil Mulholland
INTENSE TANGO 6 New Approach Racing Limited Karl Burke
JER'S GIRL (IRE) 5 J P McManus Gavin Cromwell IRE
KARALEE (FR) 6 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
KOTKIKOVA (FR) 6 J P McManus Nicky Henderson
LATE NIGHT LILY 6 Braybrooke Lodge Partnership Dan Skelton
LET'S DANCE (FR) 5 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
LIFEBOAT MONA 7 Axom LV Paul Nicholls
LIMINI (IRE) 6 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
LISTEN DEAR (IRE) 7 Supreme Horse Racing Club Willie Mullins IRE
LISTEN TO THE MAN (IRE) 7 Susan Carsberg Dan Skelton
MAGIE DU MA (FR) 4 K Alexander David Pipe
MARIAH'S LEGEND 5 Paul Murphy Amy Murphy
MIDNIGHT JAZZ 7 Mrs A Allen Ben Case
MIDNIGHT TOUR 7 James and Jean Potter Alan King
MISS CRICK 6 David Sewell Alan King
MORELLO ROYALE (IRE) 7 Ann & Tony Gale Colin Tizzard
PASS THE TIME 8 Dajam Ltd Neil Mulholland
PRAVALAGUNA (FR) 5 Bruton Street IV Willie Mullins IRE
RENE'S GIRL (IRE) 7 Andy & Sharon Measham Dan Skelton
ROCK ON THE MOOR (IRE) 9 R Irwin Jessica Harrington IRE
RONS DREAM 7 Tania Stepney Peter Bowen
SCREAMING ROSE (IRE) 6 Nigel King Willie Mullins IRE
SHATTERED LOVE (IRE) 6 Gigginstown House Stud Gordon Elliott IRE
SURTEE DU BERLAIS (IRE) 7 Sue Griffiths Oliver Sherwood
TAHIRA (GER) 7 Carl Hinchy Richard Hobson
THE ORGANIST (IRE) 6 J P McManus Oliver Sherwood
VIKY DU REPONET (FR) 8 Dan Macdonald Paul Nicholls
VIVE MA FILLE (GER) 5 J Mitchell Mick Channon
VROUM VROUM MAG (FR) 8 Susannah Ricci Willie Mullins IRE
WATER SPRITE (IRE) 6 Five Men Syndicate Gordon Elliott IRE
WHITEOUT (GER) 6 Mrs David Lawlor Willie Mullins IRE
53 entries
22 Irish-trained

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