Quevega produced a scintillating turn of foot in last year's David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle to land her fifth consecutive Cheltenham Festival crown and the Willie Mullins-trained wonder mare is all set to take her chance in the Grade Two again on March 11 and is unsurprisingly a warm favourite for the event.
Having dominated the division, Quevega has become a legendary figure at Prestbury Park and she will head to the contest fresh yet again as Mullins has elected to let her have her first start of the season in the race, but she has always shown her best and will be a tough contender to pass.
Often landing this prize and then going on to victory at the Punchestown Festival, Quevega will be a banker for many as the division often lacks strength in depth, but there could be one or two who will look to prise the coveted title away from her possession on the opening day.
With stablemate Annie Power lining up in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle later on in the week then the toughest competitor could be John Quinn's Cockney Sparrow who wasn't disgraced when second to My Tent Or Yours in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, but she fell at Doncaster last time out and will need to bounce back.
Sirene D'Ainay ran a stormer last year when finishing second and for a time looked to have Quevega struggling, but the French raider was outclassed after the last flight and could return for another shot, whilst the likes of Glens Melody, Down Ace and Highland Retreat are another interesting triumvirate in a market dominated by the Emerald Isle's red-hot mare.
8/1 Cockney Sparrow
9/1 Sirene D'Ainay
14/1 Glens Melody
14/1 Highland Retreat
14/1 Down Ace
14/1 Swing Bowler
16/1 Cailin Annamh
25/1 Doyly Carte
25/1 Legacy Gold
25/1 Mischievous Milly
25/1 Jennies Jewel
40/1 Hidden Identity
50/1 Top Totti
50/1 Little King Robin
66/1 Pass The Time
200/1 Epee Celeste
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The David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle is a Grade Two race run on day one of the Cheltenham Festival over two miles, four furlongs for mares aged four years or older.
Established in 2008, the race is a quality addition to the four-day extravaganza as some of the leading mares head to post in search of festival glory and there is already one name that has become synonymous with the race, even in the short time it has been taking place.
Willie Mullins' classy mare Quevega won the race for the first time in 2009 ridden by Ruby Walsh and since then has dominated the contest winning both the 2010 and 2011 renewals of the race to notch up a terrific hat-trick.
Named after legendary trainer David Nicholson, who amassed five winners as a jockey at the Cheltenham Festival, but more notably saddled 17 winners at the festival in a career that saw him become regarded as one of the greatest trainers of all time, it is apt that a great horse has become linked with the race.
No doubt as this race continues to attract some of the best mares from the UK & Ireland it will quickly grow in stature and become the premier contest for the females in the national hunt calendar.
Throughout the season we will be keeping a close eye on an potential mares who coild challenge Quevega for her title and closer to the race we will be providing a whole list of all the runners that will be taking her on in the two miles, four furlong contest.