A lot of the chatter in the build-up to this Cheltenham Festival has been surrounding the potential battle of two brilliant mares. Benie Des Dieux (4/7) and Honeysuckle (11/4) could both have been competing in the Champion Hurdle but when connections of the former decided not to supplement her into that race, the pair have now landed in the Mares’ Hurdle.
Willie Mullins’ horse almost made it back-to-back successes in this race last year but fell at the final hurdle and that was her only loss to date. The 2018 winner of this contest will have Paul Townend on board this time around following Ruby Walsh’s retirement but he has been on board in Benie’s last three victories so is no stranger to his mount.
Honeysuckle poses a huge threat to the favourite’s chances with Henry De Bromhead’s unbeaten six-year-old having the potential to be anything. She is seven out of seven over hurdles but this test against Benie Des Dieux will provide her with her biggest challenge to date.
The Mares’ Hurdle could prove to be one of the most fascinating races of the Festival with two highly-rated horses set to go head-to-head. Benie Des Dieux and Honeysuckle are the main attraction and whilst there are others that could come into the reckoning, all eyes will be on these two magnificent horses.
Should the pair stay on their feet, this could be a very tight finish but preference is just for Benie Des Dieux. As a former Festival winner and previous winner of this race as well as Willie Mullins’ track record in this contest, Benie can put last year’s disappointment behind her to get her nose in front and consign Honeysuckle to a first loss.