Cheltenham Ante-Post Tips 2024: Run the rule over Tiger Bay Queen for the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

 | December 06 | 

3 mins read

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Can you believe it's already Week 8 - of 20 - on this antepost journey to the Cheltenham Festival? How time flies...

Next in the book is an exciting mare I've been patiently waiting for a positive update on after a missed engagement earlier this season.

Cheltenham Ante-Post Tips 2024

  • Tiger Bay Queen @ 16/1 for the Mares' Novices' Hurdle

The mare in question is Peter Fahey's Tiger Bay Queen - and the update is that she's healthy and will run "in the second half of the season".

I suspect she had a small setback, as she was entered in a maiden hurdle at Limerick in mid-October but wasn't declared and hasn't had a single entry since, so that's the green light I've been waiting for.

Regular readers will know I've long been sweet on this five-year-old daughter of Westerner, who featured in my 2023/24 Jumps Horses to Follow list back in September.

Her debut in a Gowran Park bumper in January last year, when she finished a well-beaten second, was nothing more than ordinary, but she looked something special when bolting up in a competitive Listed affair at Fairyhouse eight months ago.

Held up in rear, she came from last to first in a matter of strides and extended to win by a widening seven lengths. I've included the replay below, so you can see for yourself how impressive it was.

Clearly, it wasn't just me Tiger Bay Queen made a deep impression on that day. Not even a month later, the Racing Post reported that JP McManus, no less, had swooped in to buy the mare. The fee is undisclosed, but I can't imagine she was cheap...

It's not only the performance and subsequent ownership change that struck me, but also Fahey's comments post-Fairyhouse.

"We gave her time off and started her back in a schooling hurdle at Tipperary last October and she genuinely won it by a hurdle. She's very, very good and is different gravy over a hurdle."

Peter Fahey on Tiger Bay Queen

High-praise indeed - and a lovely teaser of what might be to come.

Her target will almost certainly be the Mares' Novices' Hurdle, which I think is a division lacking substance.

Brighterdaysahead sets the standard at time of writing, but I'm not totally convinced about her and, courtesy of a Grade 3 win at Down Royal in November, she's already burdened by a five-pound penalty. Avoiding that can be a huge plus, which is very much a possibility for the selection given she might not start out until the new year.

There's plenty of water yet to go under the bridge, of course, but Tiger Bay Queen has immense potential and, at 16s, is well worth chancing for a trainer with a solid track record of training mares.

Stay tuned to Betfred Insights for more Cheltenham Tips as we build-up to the 2024 Festival

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