15:40 - Mares Hurdle
There are a lot of short priced favourites this week, some of them should be taken on and some shouldn’t, one that shouldn’t be opposed however is Concertista.
She has run twice at the festival before. In 2019 she was making her debut under rules in a Grade 2 Novice Hurdle and flew up the hill to be beaten a short head. She returned as a maiden in the Mares Novices race the following year and again flew up the hill only this time she won in what was one of the most impressive performances of the entire week.
Her form this year has gone to another level with wins at Grade 2 & 3 level beating several of today's opponents on the way. Her performance last year really sticks in the mind and previous festival winners often come back and score again.
Roksana is probably her main danger but I was surprised she wasn’t aimed at the Stayers, she is of course a Grade 1 victor already but rather a fortunate one as she was gifted this race when Benie Des Dieux fell at the last.
Dame Du Compegnie is another that will go well, she won the Coral Cup at last years festival but has had a mixed campaign this time with a chasing career being aborted. There is also the health of Henderson string, Altior has been withdrawn due to coughing and where one coughs there are usually more.
Nine of the 13 winners of this race have been trained by Willie Mullins and I very much expect Concertista to enhance that record.
written by Steve Marriott