3.50 Coolmore Kew Gardens Irish EBF Mares Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 3f 30yds
Burning Victory: Former Triumph Hurdle heroine whose victory over Queens Brook at Punchestown in February makes for good reading. Didn’t run anywhere close to that level at Cheltenham and lines up with a bit to find.
Dysart Diamond: Won a Grade A handicap hurdle at Listowel in September and defeated Royal Kahala to land a listed event here in November but has struggled somewhat since then and could be up against it here.
Epatante: Outstanding mare who won the Champion Hurdle in 2020 and looked better than ever when chasing home Honeysuckle in that race last month.
Looked to relish the step up to 2m 4f when bolting up in the Aintree Hurdle last time (left clear at the last) and her top-class form against quality geldings puts her well in advance of these rivals.
Marie’s Rock: Began her season with some mixed efforts but then took her form to a new level at Cheltenham when a strong late charge carried her to a 1¾l victory over Queens Brook in the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. If she can repeat that form, she must be a major player.
Mrs Milner: Landed the Pertemps Final last season and showed that she was at least as good as ever with a fine third to Marie’s Rock at Cheltenham.
With better luck in running (hampered by a faller two out) she may well have won, and that puts her right in the mix here.
Politesse: Decent mare on her day and was an easy winner of a beginners’ chase at this track last May. However, she has been well held on her last couple of starts and now needs a career best to feature.
Shewearsitwell: Looked very promising last season but has only gotten to run once since October 2020 which resulted in an early fall at Leopardstown over Christmas. Interesting but her stable would appear to have stronger candidates.
Stormy Ireland: Won this race last year and produced a cracking effort to land the Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham in January.
However, she has almost 5l to find with Marie’s Rock after finishing fourth in the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and that leaves her with work to do.
Telmesomethinggirl: Won the Mares’ Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham last season and hasn’t run at all badly during a three-race campaign which featured being brought down in last month’s Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham when still having a chance. Isn’t one to dismiss.
Former Champion Hurdle winner Epatante is the class act of the race and she can secure her fourth Grade 1 triumph of the season.
Her stablemate Marie’s Rock is a likely contender on her Cheltenham effort, while a return to form by Stormy Ireland wouldn’t surprise and she could do best of the home team.