Punters may have been deprived of Quevega taking on the boys in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, but Willie Mullins’ wondermare is in line to do so in the Irish equivalent at Punchestown.
The Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle is a race that Quevega has won for the past three years, but given that she will be up against three of the first four home at Cheltenham here, this represents her toughest challenge to date.
And the betting suggests the same, with Quevega only the second favourite at 13/8.
Part of the reason for this may be to do with Quevega’s own showing at Cheltenham, when making harder work than normal of winning the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle for a record fifth straight year.
She did suffer some traffic problems in running, but needed all of the 3m trip and the testing nature of the Cheltenham hill to get up after the final hurdle.
Her official rating has dropped as a result back to 158 and this means that she is evenly matched with her fancied rivals given that she gets 7lb for being a female.
Solwhit was not only the winner of the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, but was arguably even more impressive in putting the race to bed in the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree.
He is the 1/1 favourite and could well run to a higher level than his current rating of 164.
But with Quevega previously rated 163 and entitled to come on for her run at Cheltenham, which was her first for a year, she has to be the fancied pick.
This is especially true as this will be Solwhit’s third high-level outing in a month and there is a small chance that this could catch up with him.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date