Hatton's Grace Hurdle 2018 Betting Tips: This Mare Wins
Three outstanding mares sit at the head of the Hatton's Grace Hurdle betting, with hat-trick-seeing Apple's Jade already the odds-on favourite to win.
However, mares Benie Des Dieux and Laurina, the Champion Hurdle second Melon, and Punchestown Champion Hurdle winner Supasundae, could all prove competition for Gordon Elliott's star come Sunday.
Hatton's Grace Hurdle Favourite
Gordon Elliott was happy to see his star hurdler Apple's Jade come back to the top of her game in the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan three weeks ago, and that performance has made her no bigger than 4/5 with Coral to land her third Hatton's Grace Hurdle.
The Gigginstown House-owned mare won that Navan Grade 2 on her first start last season too, before going on to win two Grade 1s. She was then given a break, before the Cheltenham Festival, where she was odds-on favourite to win a second successive David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle.
Despite going off at the head of the betting, she could finish only third behind the Willie Mullins-trained Benie Des Dieux and was comfortably beaten behind the same rival at Punchestown in April.
The six-year-old faced no easy task on her Navan return, but she made all of her own running and accounted for former Champion Hurdle winner Jezki easily. Though the race was marred by the fall of her fancied rival Identity Thief at the penultimate flight.
Benie Des Dieux's Odds
Benie Des Dieux is set to be targeting the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle again, according to her trainer and this contest appears to be the perfect springboard for her new season.
The seven-year-old was twice a winner over fences last season before making a successful switch back to hurdles to win at the Cheltenham Festival and at Punchestown.
According to jockey Ruby Walsh, Benie Des Dieux is in great order and has been working really well at home, so she must rank as live contender if she lines up.
Any Other Bets?
Last year's Champion Hurdle runner-up Melon will be part of Willie Mullins' Champion Hurdle team again this season. He bypassed the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown in favour of this contest.
Any horse that has the calibre to finish runner-up in the Champion Hurdle has to be respected and there will be plenty of punters snapping up Betfair’s 5/1 about him.
Mullins, who has saddled the likes of Hurricane Fly and Arctic Fire to victory in this race, has not been shy with his top-class entries and Laurina is yet another who will be looking to make serious waves in this division.
Laurina was the emphatic 18-length winner of the Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March and the five-year-old is now pitched in at the deep end against proven top-class Grade 1 performers.
She missed her intended comeback at Ascot last weekend as Mullins felt the ground would be too quick for her, but the forecast rain will be more to her liking here and 8/1 (Paddy Power) looks like a very tempting each-way price.
Supasundae was a brave second behind Penhill in the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham and trainer Jessica Harrington will be hoping for the same kind of success she enjoyed last weekend in Ireland.
The eight-year-old won two Grade 1 hurdles last season, accounting for Faugheen in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown, before landing the equivalent race at Punchestown in April - when Samcro and Melon fell three out.
Taken out of the Morgiana Hurdle on account of the ground, the Ann and Alan Potts-owned gelding will surely be finely tuned for his opener and 8/1 (Paddy Power) seems a fair enough price.
Hatton's Grace Hurdle Long-Shot
Third in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle, the five-year-old went off the 6/1 favourite on his next run at Punchestown, but could only finish 10th of 24.
With many of the fancied contenders also making their seasonal bow in this race, the way is certainly open for something to come along and upset the apple cart.
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