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Cheltenham’s meeting on New Years’ Day, featuring the Dipper Novices’ Chase and the Relkeel Hurdle, usually takes centre stage on a traditionally busy day of racing across the UK and Ireland. This year, though, the highest-profile clash looks likely to take place at Fairyhouse, with star mares Put The Kettle On and Elimay set to do battle in the Grade 3 John & Crich Fowler EBF Mares’ Chase.
Reigning Champion Chaser Put The Kettle On races against her own sex for the first time since being beaten at Tipperary in October 2019. The dual Cheltenham Festival-winner was underwhelming on her return when well beaten behind Nube Negra when attempting to defend her Shloer Chase crown. Though better known as a two-miler, she has winning form over intermediate trips, having scored on three occasions over two-and-a-half in her novice chasing campaign
Put The Kettle On wins a dramatic Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
Elimay was similarly below form on her reappearance when making little impact Zambella at Aintree. However, her second to Allaho and smooth win at Naas last season mark her amongst the leading lights in this division at her best. She was only narrowly beaten in the Mares’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival after a thrilling battle with stablemate Colreevy, and a reproduction of that form would surely see him well in the mix again this time around.
Good Cheltenham prep! The striking grey Elimay wins nicely at Naas and is now into 3/1 (NRNB) for the Mares Chase at the festival next month ?pic.twitter.com/uXohWdZFzS
Put The Kettle On is best price of 25-1 to defend her Champion Chase title, and with the likes of Shishkin and Energumene in possibly opposition, it would be no surprise to see her diverted to the Mares’ Chase, for which she can backed at 8-1. Elimay is a best priced 7-1 second favourite to go one better from last season’s result in that race, behind recent Limerick winner Concertista, who heads the betting at 4-1.