Life gets even easier for Quevega as main rival out of Mares’ Hurdle

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Winning the same Cheltenham Festival race in five successive years is an accomplishment that hasn’t been achieved since Golden Miller dominated the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the 1930s.

Although landing the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle five years on the bounce doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, Quevega’s superiority in the last four years of this race deserves its recognition.

And as if she wasn’t fancied enough to complete the five-timer, the news that her probable main rival Unaccompanied has suffered a setback and will be forced to miss the Festival only enhances her claims further.

The outcome from a betting sense is that Quevega is now 1/2 to win the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle again and she is obviously hard to oppose.

This was set to be new territory in any case for Unaccompanied, who is a mare that has regularly been campaigned over 2m, compared with the extra 4f of the Mares’ Hurdle.

However, the fact that she finished second in the Triumph Hurdle at the last Cheltenham Festival and is a Grade One winner over hurdles meant that she was most likely to put up a challenge to Quevega.

With this no longer the case, there may be some added each-way value for the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle.

Une Artiste is the obvious contender at 6/1 from the yard of Nicky Henderson, as while Quevega has not been seen on the racecourse yet this season, she has taken advantage with two Grade One victories.

Other positives for Une Artiste is that she was victorious on both her previous starts at Cheltenham, most notably when landing the Fred Winter at odds of 40/1 last season and seemed to find more on each occasion climbing the stiff uphill finish.

Alternate each-way options are last year’s runner-up Kentford Grey Lady at 7/1 and She Ranks Me at 16/1.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.