Former Festival winner Concertista was the star name amongst fifteen entries announced for the Mrs Paddy Power Mares Chase on Tuesday. Willie Mullins’ Cheltenham regular has only had two chase starts to date, but heads the betting for the Grade 2 event at a best price of 5/2 with Paddy Power, having impressed in winning at Cork and Limerick this winter.
Concertista (1/2f) and Sean O'Keeffe reeled in frontrunner Kitty Galore and beat Darrens Hope to win the Grade 2 Dawn Run Mares Novice Chase at Limerick for Willie Mullins | Watch the #Leopardstown Christmas Festival live on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player https://t.co/XIcV18wOuP pic.twitter.com/k7fIbIFCyR— RTÉ Racing (@RTEracing) December 28, 2021
The market suggests her main market rival is stablemate Elimay (7/2 at bet365), who finished narrow runner-up to the now-retired Colreevy in the inaugural running last season. The popular grey was back to form when landing the odds to win her second Opera Hat Chase at Naas last weekend, and she remains amongst the best of this division.
One horse who won’t feature in the Mares Chase is Paul Nicholls’ Silver Forever, who was a shock absentee from the entries. Silver Forever looked the pick of the British challenge, having won both starts over fences this season, and was a best price of 8/1 earlier in the week, but connections have opted not to send her to this race. In her absence, the Alan King-trained The Glancing Queen took the mantle as the shortest-priced domestic contender, available to back with Ladbrokes at 12/1.
Other potential leading Mares’ Chase contenders include the Grand National-bound Kim Muir winner Mount Ida (4/1 bet365), exciting novice Riviere D’Etel (8/1 Coral) and reigning Champion Chaser Put The Kettle On (12/1 at bet365).