• Racing/
  • Quevega Mauls Mares Rivals

David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle 2m 4f

  • (4yo+, 2m 4f, Class 1, 21 runners)
  • Winner £56,330
  • Going: Good to Soft, Soft in places
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 4m 55.00s
  • Off time: 16:41:40
  • Last Updated: March 10 2009, 18:59 GMT

Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh got off the mark at the Cheltenham Festival when Quevega ran out a seriously impressive winner of the David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle.

Quevega romps to a brilliant victory.
Quevega romps to a brilliant victory.

Mullins had stated before the meeting that he believed the five-year-old was his best chance of a winner all week - and she did not disappoint.

Walsh oozed confidence and tracked Chomba Womba before moving into contention at the second-last.

Once he pressed the button, the 2-1 favourite scooted clear to leave daylight back to runner-up United, who was thumped by 14 lengths.

Aura About You was third, another short head in arrears.

Mullins said: "I don't know what happened at the start - she was last when the tapes went up.

"Luckily they didn't go a gallop for the first mile.

"But once Ruby got her into the race, she was fine.

"I thought she was my best chance of the week but I was surprised by the margin of the win.

"She's a very good mare - at least she's proved that she's the business."

Walsh said: "We felt under a bit of pressure with everyone saying she was a good thing, but she's a wonderful little mare.

"The race didn't go exactly as I hoped it would - I wanted to sit fifth or sixth - but for whatever reason at the start she didn't want to line up so I was further back than I wanted.

"But she stretched her little legs, she's a great jumper and she's a little star.

"When things don't go right at the start you have to revert to Plan B, but that was the only way I could ride the race.

"She pinged the second-last and I was probably in front an hour too soon, but she was running away with me."

Lucy Wadham, trainer of United, said: "We're thrilled, but she's just met a better one on the day.

"In the end, she did well to hold on for second.

"We might well keep her on for the Aintree Hurdle.

"The owners are having so much fun they'd like to keep her going for another season."