Cheltenham Festival: Elliott feels longer trip will help Grade 1 contender

Cheltenham Festival: Mullins has high hopes for Appreciate It

The fourth Grade 1 contest on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival takes place at 16:10, when 12 are set to go to post for the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle.

The Old Course hosts this 2m 4f contest which was won last year by Black Tears, a horse ridden by jockey Jack Kennedy.

This year Kennedy is on board Gordon Elliott’s charge Queens Brook, who could give him another victory and claim the £67,500 first prize.

The seven-year-old has been placed in all six of her previous races over hurdles, including a four-length victory at Fairyhouse back in November, over the same trip.

Last time out she finished second to Burning Victory, who also runs in the Mares’ Hurdle on Tuesday, and that display certainly pleased connections in the preparations for the Festival.

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When asked about her chances, Elliott admitted: “I have to say I was delighted with her run at Punchestown as she needed it. I liked the way she went to the line there.

“This slightly longer trip will suit and all her form suggests she has got a live chance.”

Queen’s Brook is currently 4/1 in the betting and is vying for favouritism Telmesomethinggirl, the Henry De Bromhead’s mare who will once again be ridden by Rachael Blackmore.

Blackmore rode the seven-year-old to success in the Mares’ Novice Hurdle 12 months ago and is 11/2 to be the Festival’s Top Jockey.

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Author: Lucas Carlson