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Sunday 20 April 2014

Quevega tops Mares' entries

Quevega will attempt to win the Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham for a sixth consecutive year

Quevega remains on course to bid for an historic sixth consecutive victory in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham after starring among 24 entries for the Grade Two contest.

The Willie Mullins-trained superstar is likely to be a red-hot favourite to raise the roof at Prestbury Park on the opening day of the Festival as although her unbeaten stable companion Annie Power has been entered, she is expected to line up in either the Champion Hurdle or the World Hurdle.

Mullins has also entered Glens Melody, with Jessica Harrington's Cailin Annamh and Gordon Elliott's Layla Joan other possible Irish challengers.

John Quinn's Fighting Fifth Hurdle runner-up Cockney Sparrow appears the best of the British-trained mares.

The five-year-old was last seen falling in a race won by Annie Power at Doncaster.

Last year's runner-up Sirene D'Ainay could make the trip from France again, while other contenders include Fergal O'Brien's Down Ace and the Henry Daly-trained Mickie.

Mullins predictably dominates the ante-post betting for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper and is responsible for five of the initial 41 entries.

The Graham and Andrea Wylie-owned of duo Black Hercules and Shaneshill have both looked the part since joining Ireland's champion trainer and dispute favouritism, with stablemates Killultagh Vic, Westhorpe and Aminabad also in the mix.

Modus is a major contender for fledgling trainer Robert Stephens while Vigil and Silver Concorde could travel from Ireland for Dermot Weld.

Last year's third Golantilla could return for Tony Martin, with Philip Fenton's Value At Risk another hope for the Irish.

A total of 34 horses are in the mix for the CGA Foxhunter Chase, with Enda Bolger responsible for two of the main hopes in Mossey Joe and On The Fringe.

Tammys Hill, Oscar Delta and multiple point-to-point winner The Hollinwell are other possible challengers from across the Irish Sea.

The home team is headed by Alan Hill's Harbour Court.

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