Mares Hurdle Finale Preview

With Architect Tips

2017 winner : Snow Leopardess (7/1J)
Trainer : Charlie Longsdon
Jockey : Aidan Coleman

This year’s renewal is quite hot based on the fact the majority of the field come into the race on the back of some very good performances. Below we will go through some of the leading contenders and the current favourite for the Mares Hurdle Finale at Newbury.

Prices are correct at the time of writing (midday 23 March 2018).

PETTICOAT TAILS – 8/1

A very good bumper mare, she won her first two starts before placing in a Grade two at Sandown, beaten half-a-length by the smart Cap Soleil (2nd in the Mares at the festival) before going on to finish third in the Grade two Aintree Bumper behind Oscar Rose and Dame Rose. That is high-class bumper form so it was disappointing to see her well beaten on her hurdles debut at Wincanton. However, she has won twice since in fair enough style without exactly being the smoothest over her obstacles. She could well kick on now with those wins under her belt but in my opinion, she has yet to convince over obstacles compared to her bumper form and this is a massive step-up in class. The ground will suit her and with Richard Johnson riding, then she can’t be dismissed lightly. But, she does need to improve on her jumping and that will be the key to her going close or not being good enough. At the prices, I will pass her over but if she puts it all together, she could well prove me wrong.

IF YOU SAY RUN – 8/1

With form figures of 112122, then it’s hard to knock the consistency of If You Say Run who represents Paul Nicholls. This very smart 6yo has the beating of most the field on previous outings and there is no reason why won’t confirm that form here. She appreciated the step-up in trip last time when chasing home Midnight Tune in a Listed race at Sandown. If you Say run travelled like the best horse in the race but the ground stopped her turn of foot despite rallying gamely towards the end. The extra furlong in this Grade two prize should bring out further improvement if I am honest and we know she jumps and travels well in her races. There is a lot to like about this 6yo mare and her form is just rock solid in every way possible. I think she has a massive chance in this and is probably the best each-way value bet in the race in my view.

OSCAR ROSE – 7/1

Easily the unluckiest horse in training at the moment. This 6yo mare won a Listed bumper before finishing a solid second in the Grade two Aintree Bumper. Surprisingly, she has yet to win over hurdles but has been unlucky on a few occasions such as when bought down in a race at Cheltenham and last time out where she was a warm favourite and was going strongly when her rider Paddy Brennan lost his irons some way out. He had to perform miracles to keep the partnership intact and the pair still nearly won despite that happening. That showed to me that this mare his full of ability and we know she is more then capable when everything goes to plan for her. She handles most ground and I am sure connections have targeted this race for a while. She was three lengths behind Woolstone One two starts ago but is 17lb better off with that horse here so I can see the form being reversed. She has a nice low weight on her back this time and of she finally gets a clear run throughout the race without any problems, I can see her going close. Oscar Rose deserves a change of luck and now she has another chance to show what she can do. I make her a serious each-way player.

MIDNIGHT TUNE – 10/1

A very tough and honest mare, who landed a Listed prize at Sandown last time when having a few of these behind. She will be hard to beat if turning up in the form but my suspicion is that she has had a hard season and it might catch up with her here. To me she makes no appeal at the prices and is passed over this time up against improving sorts who will be primed for this. Plus, I think she is a better horse when having time in between her races.

JUST A THOUGHT – 14/1

This chestnut mare won her first two bumpers on soft ground but hasn’t won since. However, she has yet to finish out of the frame in all eight starts so would make plenty of appeal each-way at the prices. But, she always seems to find a way of getting beaten over hurdles and we still don’t know what is her best distance. She was on and off the bridle here two starts ago without being beaten far and it’s good she has form at the track, which is a positive. Maybe she will find the improvement to win races over hurdles, but I just can’t see it being in this race unless she has been holding everything back until the big occasion arrives. She is consistent but doesn’t seem to have the class to win a race as deep as this because she seems more of a plodder then anything.

CONCLUSION

There are plenty in this that can be given some kind of chance, because it’s a very deep renewal of this Grade two prize. However, there are two mares that stand out for me that I think have outstanding chances of lifting the prize. OSCAR ROSE being one of those, she has been rock solid over hurdles without winning but that has mainly been down to bad luck she has suffered in running on a few occasions. She is a mare full of ability as proved when contesting high-class bumpers and the attitude she showed last time when her rider lost his irons. Connections will have targeted this race for a while and with her low weight on her back, she has every chance of going close with a clear round and deservedly so. My other selection in the race is the Paul Nicholls trained IF YOU SAY RUN, who has done nothing wrong in any start and has beaten the majority of this field previously. She travelled like a dream last time before the deep ground stopped her turn of foot. The ground will be slightly better tomorrow and with more improvement likely to come over this further trip, she must have a big chance with Sam Twiston-Davies doing the steering.

OSCAR ROSE – 0.5 POINTS EACH-WAY
IF YOU SAY RUN – 0.5 POINTS EACH-WAY

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