Author: Alan Kelly
Published: 08:29 01/05/2014
Willie Mullins' super mare Quevega has not tasted defeat since May of 2009 but the six-time Cheltenham Festival Mares' Hurdle winner may struggle to make it ten in a row at Punchestown tomorrow in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle. The 10-year-old daughter of Robin Des Champs has looked more vulnerable of late and this is undoubtedly her stiffest task for some time and the mount of Ruby Walsh is worth opposing at a short price.
At Fishers Cross is sure to be a tough rival after good runs at the Cheltenham Festival and Aintree but at the 6-1 available with several bookmakers including Bet365, Ladbrokes and William Hill the selection is the Philip Hobbs-trained Fingal Bay. Winner of the Pertemps Network Final at the Festival, a race which produced the Crabbies Grand National winner Pineau De Re ( 3rd ) and unlucky Scottish National third Trusten Times ( 4th ), the mount of Richard Johnson defied top weight to win that three mile contest and looks ready for the step up in class.
The last horse to beat 2013 Racing Post Arkle winner Simonsig when beating that horse by two and three quarter lengths in a Sandown Grade 2 contest in December 2011 the 8-year-old never really took to chasing and reverting back to the smaller obstacles has done nothing wrong and with just the two runs this season will be a fresh horse for the race worth 120,000 euros to the winner. Quevega will need to improve significantly on her three quarters of a length victory over stablemate Glens Melody on her most recent start making the best price of evens available with William Hill of little appeal and should the mare fail on this occasion it would be no surprise to hear of her well earned retirement.