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Gala Marceau and Telmesomethinggirl on course for Mares Hurdle

3 minute read

Despite the relatively recent retirement of star hurdler Honeysuckle, owner Kenny Alexander holds a strong hand in the mares hurdling division with both Gala Marceau and Telmesomethinggirl on course for the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

GALA MARCEAU winning the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown in Dublin, Ireland.
GALA MARCEAU winning the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown in Dublin, Ireland. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Trained by Willie Mullins, Gala Marceau could not defeat stablemate Lossiemouth in four meetings last season, but had her moment of glory when taking the Grade 1 Prix Alain du Breuil by seven lengths at Auteuil in May. She returned after the summer break with a credible third behind the fellow Mullins-trained Ashroe Diamond, with connections expecting the five-year-old to improve for the run.

"We were very happy with her and Danny (Mullins, jockey) said she took a bit of a blow after the last," said racing manager Peter Molony.

"He thought he would definitely have been second and closer to the winner without that and he wasn't overly hard on her to try to get second as the big day is in a few weeks time.

"The step up in trip is going to help her, she stayed the extra distance well last year in Auteuil and we really think that will play to her strengths."

Whilst the Henry De Bromhead-trained Telmesomethinggirl may be the longer-priced of the pair, the nine-year-old remans capable of a big effort after her strong second in the Grade 3 Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas.

"We were over the moon with her performance at Naas. The first day she ran (at Leopardstown) she was still rather gross and I think as she has got older, Henry has found it harder to get her fit," said Molony.

"Last year was a complete waste of a year and she just didn't take to the fences, that is a year that can be scratched.

"Henry and his team are very happy with her and I think if she is back to her best, she is going to give all the other ladies something to think about. She's a very high-class mare in her own right at her best.

"Rachael came in and said it was a case of how far, not if (when she ran in the race previously) and if she gets back to that level she could take a lot of beating – she is certainly a wonderful each-way price."

Gala Marceau is available at 8/1 for the Mares Hurdle, with Telmesomethinggirl a general 25/1 shot.

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