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|Queens Brook||16/1||Ante Post
Date of Tips: 18/11/2021
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (12:51 18/11/2021) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
The last couple of seasons, there has been plenty of eye-catching ante-post prices in the immediate aftermath of the Cheltenham Festival, but no so this time around – and those that were tempting were quickly snapped up.
Hence, why I only have one Cheltenham Festival 2022 recommendation. Having recommended taking the 50/1 about My Drogo for both the Arkle Chase and the Marsh Novices’ Chase, whichever he goes for, it will obviously become roughly a 25/1 bet. But given he is as short as 5/1 for the Marsh Novices’ Chase, we are still in a good spot.
I’m sure there will be copious opportunities as the season roars onwards towards the spring, and now is the time to get involved in the market for the Mares Hurdle, run on the Tuesday.
The three main pillars of ante-post betting are strongly catered for with these two each-way picks in the Mares Hurdle – a price likely to shorten, a likely runner (and winner!), and the scope for others in the market/race to be unsuited by the race or absent come the day.
Firstly, the picks themselves – Telmesomethinggirl at 16/1 each-way with Bet365, and Queens Brook also at 16/1 each-way with a variety of bookmakers, but for simplicity, Bet365 are also offering that price.
Telmesomethinggirl was a ready winner of the Mares’ Novice Hurdle last season, in a time only 0.79 seconds slower than Belfast Banter won the County Hurdle in over the same course and distance the next day, and who went on to win a Grade 1 at Aintree.
She sauntered through the field on the run downhill, and then on the long, punishing climb to the line on the New course at Cheltenham, she cleared away impressively in the manner of a mare who has a unique blend of speed and stamina. Two qualities that you will find in any winner of the Grade 1 Mares Hurdle itself.
Fresh from her brilliant victory at Cheltenham, she was then given the incredibly tough assignment of the Grade 1 3m novice hurdle at the Punchestown Festival. Held up in rear in that race, she was one of the last horses off the bridle, and as the race became dragged out in the closing stages, she faded a touch. Given the quality of rival she was taking on, it was a ‘fierce’ run, to coin a phrase often used by her brilliant trainer Henry De Bromhead.
The Mares Hurdle being on the sharper Old course will present a different challenge for her, but the 2m 4f trip will be the counterweight to this, and at 16/1 each-way with Bet365 she is a wild price.
Given she ran down the field on her seasonal reappearance last weekend, this is the clear reason why she has been pushed out by some of the layers, and I believe it to be an over-reaction. Don’t forget, just 6 weeks before her Cheltenham victory last season, she was being beaten in a handicap off a mark of 126!
Telmesomethinggirl clearly thrives in the spring, and De Bromhead will have both eyes firmly fixed on the Grade 1 Mares Hurdle on the second Tuesday in March for her.
The other mare to back now is the Gordon Elliott-trained Queens Brook, who is also quite significantly overpriced I feel.
At 16/1 each-way generally, but handily with Bet365 also, Queens Brook is another horse who we know will be targeted at the race, similar to Telmesomethinggirl – connections have said as such about both.
On her form last season, Queens Brook would be a 160/1 shot, let alone 16/1, but the fact that she wasn’t seen in the spring suggests something was amiss, and she has begun this campaign in much better form.
A cobweb-clearing run at Wexford was followed by a resounding win in a quick time at Fairyhouse at the beginning of November. Again, the bare form isn’t anything stellar, but sometimes the visual impression and other metrics can give you more meat on the bones.
With Queens Brook, we know she has the inherent class, as if you hark back to the Champion Bumper at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival, you will see Queens Brook pulling clear with Ferny Hollow, Appreciate It, Eskylane and Third Time Lucki.
Obviously, that level of pure ability gives her a more than likely chance of being naturally good enough to win a normal edition of the Mares Hurdle, and so must be backed now at 16/1 each-way generally.
In the copious ante-post lists, there are only two horses that would potentially worry me at this stage – the Willie Mullins-trained Shewearsitwell and the Peter Fahey-trained Royal Kahala.
Of the former, she could be brilliant, but hasn’t the experience around Cheltenham, hasn’t tried the 2m4f trip yet, and has been fragile. While Royal Kahala is the only horse in the Mares’ Novice Hurdle field of last season that I could see getting closer to Telmesomethingirl.
Royal Kahala wasn’t right that day, and she finished in front of Telmesomethinggirl at Fairyhouse recently. She has the natural ability to improve from, and could be the flyer this season.
At the best prices of 12/1 for Shewearsitwell and 20/1 for Royal Kahala, I wouldn’t dissuade you from backing them now as well, as I would hazard a guess that in addition to Telmesomethinggirl and Queens Brook, you would have 12/1, 16/1, 16/1 and 20/1 bets about the four horses that I can see going off single figures come the day. Granted, this methodology wouldn’t be for everyone.
Plenty of other horse in the lists will be aimed elsewhere, and plenty won’t be good enough, so one thing is for definite – take the 16/1 each-way about the pair with the solid Cheltenham Festival form: Telmesomethinggirl and Queens Brook.