1 Quevega 6/4
2 Reve De Sivola 9/2
3 Zaidpour 16/1 NR: Solwhit (FR)
6 ran Distances: 5l, 31l, 13l
TIME 6m 30.20s (slow by 47.20s)
Super mare Quevega landed a fourth consecutive Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle with great ease although her task was made more simple by the withdrawal at the start of Solwhit, who was 11/8 favourite at the time.
Trainer Willie Mullins felt that Quevega was in better form today than at Cheltenham last month, when she captured her fifth successive David Nicholson Mares Hurdle.
“She answered Ruby’s every call today and did what she had to do,” said Mullins. “We worried going into Cheltenham that she was a bit big but she worked brilliantly last Saturday and that was the first time that I thought I had her really race-fit.
“I don’t wish Solwhit was there. It’s unfortunate for his connections but by the grace of God it could have been us. I don’t know what happened to Solwhit but it can happen to any horse at any time. He was obviously well enough to come here today but something must have happened on the way to the start.
“We are not afraid to enter Quevega in the two mile championship races because she has that sort of speed at home. We are lucky enough to have a horse like Hurricane Fly but if we didn’t have him, she could run in the two mile races.
“I was very nervous approaching the last, just hoping that she wouldn’t fluff her lines because one or two years here she has made a mistake at the last. Today she jumped perfectly throughout on ground she is not liking as she gets older but she strong now and able to cope with it.
“She has a French cross-country pedigree and that’s what I said to people at the start. With this sort of ground, you would like to be bred that way.
“We possibly could take her to France but the big target next year will be to get her to Cheltenham again.”
Ruby Walsh added: “Quevega is a brilliant little mare. The ground was plenty heavy enough for her but, in fairness, it’s plenty heavy enough for any horse today.
“She is exceptionally placed and trained and has a great attitude. Her lad does a brilliant job with her because she is not the easiest mare in the world to look after. He doesn’t speak much English but he speaks Quevega.
“She is so accurate in her jumping, she travels, she’s honest – she is the real deal. She has won four of these, five in Cheltenham and although Solwhit didn’t run, you can only beat what is put in front of you and beat them she did.
“There’s no doubt it was better for us that Solwhit didn’t run. It’s all about winning and if you take out the favourite it makes it easier.”
Solwhit’s trainer Charles Byrne’s explained the horse’s withdrawal: “There was blood coming from his nose and it turned out to be a scratch but Davy had no choice but to withdraw the horse because there was blood there. We dodged a right one anyway in Quevega.”
Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle (Grade 1) €170,000 added, 4yo plus, 3m
6 ran Going: Soft
7. Quevega (FR) b f Robin Des Champs (FR) - Vega IV
2nd 5 Lengths
3. Reve de Sivola (FR) b g Assessor - Eva de Chalamont (FR)
3rd 31 Lengths
6. Zaidpour (FR) b g Red Ransom (USA) - Zainta
4th 13 Lengths
2. Holywell b g Gold Well (GB) - Hillcrest
5th 49 Lengths
1. Fiveforthree gr g Arzanni - What A Queen
6th 99+ Lengths
5. Whatuthink ch g Presenting (GB) - Glen's Encore (Visor. T/S)
4. Solwhit (FR) b g Solon (GER) - Toowhit Towhee (USA)