Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle race analysis and tips

Mares' Novices' Hurdle race analysis and tips

Maria's Benefit

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Betting Tip: @ Maria's Benefit @ 6/1 with boyle

2m1f (2m179y) (New) Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (Registered As The Dawn Run) (Class 1) (4yo+)

Last year (horse – trainer – jockey – SP):
1. Let’s Dance – W Mullins – R Walsh – 11/8f
2. Barra – G Elliott – B Cooper – 12/1
3. Dusky Legend – A King – W Hutchinson – 20/1
(16 ran)

Nature of the race
This newest addition to the Festival line-up is in its third year and the first two runnings were won by a Willie Mullins-trained hotpot – Limini won the inaugural running at 8/11 and Let’s Dance did the business at 11/8 last year. Both those mares were shrugging off a 5lb penalty – this is the only race at the Festival with a penalty system – and that’s a trend likely to continue as his Laurina (who carries the same penalty) is odds-on to bring up the stable hat-trick. Given the wide range of abilities on show, small penalties are unlikely to prove decisive.

Best of the Irish
Easily Laurina and given the vibes coming out of her stable are ominously strong, it could be a case of finding one to follow her home. Certainly, she has looked exceptional in winning both her starts this term and the form of the latest of those, a Grade 3, which she own by 11 lengths, was franked in no uncertain terms when the runner-up bolted up in a valuable handicap. She does need to brush up her jumping, but the way she travels she is able to get away with it.

Best of the home challenge
While Laurina’s form looks stronger, Stuart Edmund’s Maria’s Benefit has done nothing wrong in winning her last five starts and, having hardly come off the bridle previously, she showed her battling qualities in a Grade 2 last time. She goes on any ground and looks the best alternative to the favourite.

Others to consider
It’s hard to make much of a case for anything else as the finish really ought to be fought out between the two highest-rated mares already mentioned, with the others having a mountain top climb on the ratings. Salsaretta is an interesting recruit from France having her first start for Willie Mullins, but I very much doubt Ruby Walsh has made the wrong choice.

Nicky Henderson’s Countister was fortunate to win at Sandown last time and and a better place prospect, perhaps, is Fergal O’Brien’s Cap Soleil, who was a Listed winner last time despite looking ill at ease on the heavy ground.

Best bookmaker offers
Boylesports are refunding losing stakes on this race (as a free bet up to £20) if your horse finishes 2nd or 3rd to the SP favourite, which for some will be an invite to take on Laurina relatively risk free.

Verdict
It’s very hard to see past Laurina and she’s odds-on for a reason, but there are no good things at the Festival – as we found out with Apple’s Jade on Tuesday – and the sensible way to approach this race is to bung a tenner on MARIA’S BENEFIT at Boylesports’ 6/1 given their offer.

Betting Tip: @ Maria's Benefit @ 6/1 with boyle

All odds were correct at time of posting.

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