Mares' Chase Preview

Last year the Mares’ Chase was won by the Willie Mullins-trained Colreevy, who battled well to secure the victory for connections at odds of 9/4. Plenty of punters were waiting on favourite Elimay for accumulators that day, and I think she may well let down her backers again on Friday.

Win – Mount Ida (5/2)

Gordon Elliott’s Mount Ida is unbeaten so far this season, and I don’t see that changing at the Cheltenham Festival. 

The mare beat Elimay over this 2m5f trip at Punchestown on New Year’s Day, showing a willing attitude to cling onto her lead having lost some momentum at the second-last when bumping Scarlet And Dove mid-air. Mount Ida was giving Elimay 3lb that day and although the latter was closing all the way to the line, off level weights I don’t think that will be the case.

Mount Ida’s jumping has raised questions previously, having a tendency to move off of her line in the air, but her speed has consistently made amends for that. She was a winning favourite in the Kim Muir Chase last season, and the way she hit the front after hitting 999/1 in-running certainly suggested that the course is one that sees her to best effect.

Concertista is another obvious threat in the race and she was unlucky not to win the Mares’ Hurdle at the Festival last year, being nodded by Black Tears in the shadow of the finishing post. However, this season I haven’t been overly impressed by her two wins. Of course, she can only beat who she faces up against, but the form of both outings is far from impressive.

The Glancing Queen (10/1) and Gin On Lime (12/1) are both fascinating contenders and that looks far too big of a price considering she served it up to the exciting My Drogo in that remarkable two-horse race at Cheltenham in November. However, I’m not sure either have the speed to cope with Mount Ida in the closing stages of the race if either are thereabouts at the finish.

Mount Ida has proven previously that she stays well up the Cheltenham hill and the fact that Elliott has said he was considering running her in the Grand National earlier this season highlights that stamina is far from an issue.

At 5/2, Mount Ida looks a great bet and she looks certain to give punters a run for their money at the very least, especially if Elliott is enjoying a fruitful Festival.