Cheltenham 2024 | Festival Focus – Mares Races

Mares’ Races have been a recent edition to the Cheltenham Festival, and there have been some moments that went down in Festival history. Best of Bets takes a look at the Mares Hurdle and Mares Chase.


Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle – 2m 3F 200yds – Grade One

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The Mares Hurdle was only established in 2008, yet it has given us horses, and races, that will forever be part of the Festival picture. Quevega, Annie Power and last year’s emotional send-off for Honeysuckle. This year, it seems to be one horse on everyone’s lips.

Lossiemouth was ultra-impressive winning the Unibet Hurdle, formerly the International, on Trials Day at Cheltenham, winning easily on the bridle.

The former Triumph Hurdle winner had some questions about fitness and the long layoff that day, but soon put the doubts to bed and won cosily.

She’s been stepped up in distance, presumably to avoid the potential clash between Constitution Hill and State Man.

Despite this, she looks to have an engine and has plenty of aims in sight after this, including a potential crack at the Champion Hurdle next year.

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The question is who can finish in behind her? Stablemate Ashroe Diamond was stepped back to two miles at Doncaster beating Under Control and Gala Marceau.

She may lack course experience, but she is a Grade One winner and deserves to hit the frame at least.

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Love Envoi hasn’t had the vintage season like last year, but no one could deny her effort in last year’s renewal. The step up in distance will be more beneficial but may fall foul of Lossiemouth’s easy winning style again.

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Marie’s Rock won this race back in 2022 and has been tried over three miles after that. She won the Warfield Mares’ Hurdle comfortably at Doncaster, but it’s hard to tell which Marie’s Rock will turn up this year.


For some, the NAP of the Festival is Lossiemouth. No one can deny her talents and is a potential future Champion Hurdle winner, following in the footsteps of the legend that is Honeysuckle. 1/2 (General).

Each-way pick: Love Envoi ran a cracker in last year’s race and looked like the winner heading to the last. Whilst her exploits haven’t been great this year, she’s finished second twice. Whilst Lossiemouth runs away with it, Love Envoi should pick up the pieces. 14/1 (BetUK).


Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase – 2m 4F 127yds – Grade Two

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It’s the fourth renewal of this race and no favourite has won it. But this year looks a little simpler.

Dinoblue has been one of the best two-milers over in Ireland this season, and to see her come here makes this race look hardly significant.

There is a question of her stepping up in trip, but look back to her victory over Christmas and you’ll see that she’s got an engine.

Downed by El Fabiolo last time out, she still finished six lengths ahead of the third, which is still an impressive result.

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One horse that will relish the trip is Allegorie De Vassy. She came back to her best over two miles beating Rivere D’Etel at Naas.

The only problem for Allegorie is that the rain will need to come. Three of her victories have come on heavy ground and will want it raining through the week for her to win.

Limerick Lace is a horse that has gone under the radar. She won all her races over the distance by a combined total of 26 lengths this season.

She finished second in the Troytown, when she was stepped up in trip and she looks to have been aimed at this race by Cromwell.

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The Navan trainer, who is top trainer at Cheltenham this season, also has Brides Hill who is also unbeaten this season.

However, most of her victories have come at Listed level, including her win at Huntingdon earlier this season.

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One horse that looks overpriced is Riviere D’Etel. Her only victory came against Allegorie De Vassy, beating her by 33 lengths over two-and-a-half miles.

The intermediate trip will seem to suit and running against the girls also will be a bonus for horse who has been, form-wise, very consistent.


Dinoblue is the one to beat. And looking at the rest of the field, it’s a race that she’s taking full advantage of. In my opinion, she should go the Champion Chase and would run a cracking race, even if El Fabiolo won it. Evs (William Hill, 888Sport, BetUK).

Each-way pick: Limerick Lace looks to have been aimed at this race all season. Gavin Cromwell’s record at Cheltenham has been hard not to notice. A JP McManus reverse forecast for the penultimate race of the week would be a nice touch. 5/1 (William Hill, 888Sport, BetUK).

Forecast: Dinoblue, Limerick Lace

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