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Mares’ Chase

Last years race ended up being a brilliant battle between Elimay, who had previously pulled miles clear with Allaho and finished just second to him, and Colreevy a novice that went on to beat Monkfish and Envoi Allen at Punchestown. That day I was very sweet on Elimay and at every fence Colreevy was jumping to her right and taking Elimay with her. I was screaming at the tv and can‘t help but think she would have won had she got the inside rail, especially with the winning margin being so fine. The two were by far the best mares last season and so I can’t really complain. This year there is no Colreevy in the field as she has been retired as a brood mare. With Elimay running twice and being beaten twice, as a consequence this race looks wide open.

At the head of the market we have Concertista at 11/4, the mares’ novice hurdle winner from 2020 and last years mares’ hurdle second. I actually put her up for that race again this year at a bigger price so I’m a bit annoyed she went chasing, that’s the risk with Ante Post though. She made her chasing debut pitched straight into Grade two company, beating experienced rivals. The form has worked out with the second, third and fifth all winning since, with the second and third both graded placed again. That was over 2 miles, and stepped up to 2 miles 6 furlongs for her next start, again a grade two, she won well without ever being asked much of a question. She has good course form and done nothing wrong over fences so far, Mullins won the race with a novice last year and looks like he could do again. My main concern with her is that she goes over her fences very low and could be prone to an error, though it hasn’t stopped her thus far.

Second in is another novice in Rivière D’etel at 4/1, she has been one of the top novice chasers this year getting close to Ferny Hollow and arguably unlucky not to win the Irish Arkle last weekend. She has the class to go close here, but I think that last run would have swayed connections for a shot at the Arkle and expect to see her line up there. We then have Elimay at 9/2 along with Mount Ida. The pair are closely matched having finished half a length a part in January. It’s worth noting that Mount Ida was actually giving Elimay 3lbs that day. Both half course form with Mount Ida winning last years Kim Muir despite looking in trouble for most the race, she does have a tendency to jump right which you’d think would be an issue at Cheltenham. She also has a gold cup entry and does stay the trip so could even end up there. The other concern i she might look the speed of a Concertista and be vulnerable in that sense. Elimay is another with good course form having gone very close in this race last year and ran well in the mares‘ hurdle before that. I really liked her last year and did back her this year when it was confirmed Colreevy wouldn’t be running. I think some of the novices are going to be tough to beat as will Mount Ida, but she’s generally consistent and I hope she goes close again.

Silver Forever is the best British trained hope for at 8/1. She‘s a brilliant jumper and has won both chase starts so far, my concern with her is she‘s most recently won over nearly three miles and looked better the further they went. The form doesn’t looked brilliant compared to some of the Irish form either, and I feel she might be vulnerable at this shorter trip. Last years Champion Chase winner, Put The Kettle On, is 10/1 but didn’t appear to stay in the race with Elimay and Mount Ida. I expect they’ll go back to the Champion Chase again with her, though she is a different horse at Cheltenham and could be underestimated if she does appear here. Gin On Lime is 10/1 too and has won 5 of her 6 starts this season, with the other being a second place in graded company. She was last seen in November in a crazy race against My Drogo, where both appeared to fall but Rachael Blackmore somehow managed to stay on board and Gin On Lime got back to her feet to win. At the time it divided opinions with some saying Blackmore should have pulled her up, and at the time I thought she did the right thing, however she hasn’t run since and maybe that did leave it’s mark on her. I wouldn’t be backing her for this now, but should she be fit and well would have a good chance on form.

The Glancing Queen is also 10/1 and another I backed early for the mares’ hurdle at a massive price. She’s taken to chasing very well winning her first two starts impressively, winning a novice then mares’ listed race. She then raced against the geldings in the grade two Dipper Novices’ Chase. She ran a gallant second finishing ten lengths behind L’homme Presse, who is short in the market for the Turners’ and has bolted up again since. The third has also won well since in a valuable race, so the form looks strong enough. She ran a decent race in the Mares’ Novice last year, finishing 5th and I’d give her a decent each way squeak here. Dame De Compagnie is 12/1 and has most recently gone back over hurdles, I don’t think she’ll turn up here and looks below her best in recent runs anyway. Zambella is 14/1 and ties in closely with Makada, 20/1. Zambella fell in the race last year when a big price, and has shown better form this year winning a two listed chases over two and a half. She dropped back to two miles most recently where she lacked the speed and was beaten by Maskada just over a length. Maskada is an out and out two miler though and proved she didnt stay when we’ll beaten next time. The two who finished ahead of her that day, Vienna Court (16/1) and Pink Legend (33/1) are both entered here and would have each way shouts. But they would both need to improve to challenge the Irish runners.

Gauloise hasn’t gone chasing, nor have Heaven Help Us or Skyace. Robin De Carlow has been retired after an injury last year, so the bookies should really have removed her from the betting. Jeremy‘s Flame ran Concertista close and could be too big at 16/1. Dolcita was showing decent form and finally won recently but would need to improve plenty. Ballyshannon Rose would be interesting at 20/1 having beaten Jeremy’s Flame the same distance that Concertista did. The third in that race was Minella Melody that I advised for this a while back, she was jumping well and cruised into the race but faded out of it. I think she possibly needed the run after a long time out and could show better, but hasn’t got much chasing experience.

A tough, open race that’s difficult to predict Ante Post, I’ve just played the two on my Ante Post blog. Elimay - Mares’ Chase 6/1 2pt win (21/04/2021)

Minella Melody - Mares' Chase - 25/1 0.5pts each way (04/10/2021)

Elimay was unlucky not to win the race last year and off the back of a poor run at Aintree she ran a good second last time and was back to near her best. I still like her chances and think 6/1 was too big. With Minella Melody I was hoping she’d have had a few runs this season but only ran the once jumping well and looking like the winner, only to weaken out of it. After so long off that’s fair and she could show more come Cheltenham. However, they may opt to preserve her novice status. I’ll probably have another selection nearer the time but won’t be advising one now.

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