Quevega Queen of Mares for a Fifth Time
1 Quevega 8/11 Fav
Quevega made it a remarkable five-timer in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle with a thrilling victory at the Cheltenham Festival.
She came from a difficult position to land the spoils and equal the 1930s Gold Cup hero Golden Miller's record of winning the same race five years in a row, in the process completing a first-day treble for trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh.
Almost knocked over at the top of the hill, Quevega still had plenty to do at the last, where French raider Sirene D'Ainay looked to have the race in the bag, but the 8-11 favourite finally got going and flew up the hill, passing many rivals to get her head in front in the last 100 yards and win by a length and a half.
Walsh said: "We were very, very lucky. I'm not sure if she stood on herself or clipped heels with something else, but she was on the floor at the top of the hill - she nodded and I nearly fell over her ears.
"When she stood back up then, the boys were gone, and I had to sit and suffer down the hill, but she has a tremendous little engine. She has a wonderful attitude and you'd have to say she's trained by a genius.
"In fairness to her, she jumped the last and, my God, did she battle. I would have won very easily but for what happened at the top of the hill - when your luck is in, your luck is in."
Mullins added: "We thought we had the team in great order coming over. She is a fantastic mare. She's just so good and changes gear when she wants to.
"Ruby rode her with a lot of confidence. I thought he was five or six lengths out of his ground but when he slipped her wide, she found another gear. Once the last hurdle opened up for her you could see her putting her head down and you knew if she jumped the last she was going to make it.
"She's very good - very precious. To be associated with a horse that wins five times at the Festival, you don't dream of those things.
"I used to read about horses like Golden Miller in those racing books when I was young, but those horses are once in a lifetime - once in a century. I'm privileged to be part of it."
OLBG Mares' Hurdle (Grade 2)
OLBG MARES’ HURDLE FACTS & FIGURES BACKGROUND INFORMATION
This year sees the sixth running of the Grade Two OLBG Mares’ Hurdle (for the David Nicholson Trophy). The race is named in memory of the legendary Cotswold-based jockey and trainer, who passed away in August, 2006. OLBG, the online sports betting community, sponsored for the first time in 2012.
“The Duke” enjoyed five successes at The Festival as a jockey between 1963 and 1973, but is best known for his 17 victories as a trainer, including successes in the Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase (1994 & 1995 Viking Flagship), Ladbrokes World Hurdle (Anzum 1999) and Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup (1988 Charter Party).
Nicholson became the first trainer for more than 50 years to saddle three winners in a day at The Festival when Putty Road (Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle), Viking Flagship (Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase) and Kadi (Byrne Group Plate) all triumphed on March 15, 1995.
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DAVID NICHOLSON MARES’ HURDLE PAST RESULTS
2012-WINNER-QUEVEGA 8-11-05 Owner-Hammer & Trowel Syndicate; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP- 4/7 Fav
2011-WINNER-QUEVEGA 7-11-05 Owner-Hammer & Trowel Syndicate; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-5/6 Fav
2010-WINNER-QUEVEGA 6-11-05 Owner-Hammer & Trowel Syndicate; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-6/4 Fav
2009-WINNER-QUEVEGA 5-11-03 Owner-Hammer & Trowel Syndicate; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-2/1 Fav
2008-WINNER-WHITEOAK 5-11-00 Owner-Brendan Richardson; Trainer-Donald McCain Jnr; Jockey-Jason Maguire; SP-20/1
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