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Ruby Walsh reports Quevega in 'good nick' ahead of Cheltenham Festival

Quevega is one of 24 entries for the OLBG Mares' Hurdle and is reported in "good nick" ahead of her bid to secure a historic sixth straight Cheltenham Festival success in this 2m 4f contest.

The 10-year-old currently stands alongside former Gold Cup hero Golden Miller on five Festival victories but is on course to set a new record as connections describe her as being in fine fettle following a slight setback last week.

"I have her well ahead of schedule this year, in fact I was contemplating giving her a run in a recent mares' race at Punchestown," reported trainer Willie Mullins. "But then I wasn't quite happy with her and thought if she needs to have a bit of easy time it's better to do that now. So I gave her a few easy days just walking but she was soon back out riding and I'm happy that we still have plenty of time."

Quevega has become one of the most popular horses in Festival history since first thrashing United and 19 other rivals in 2009, with her margin of victory that day a whopping 14 lengths.

She then stayed on strongly to score by four and a half lengths from Carole's Legacy in 2010, Sparky May was crushed by 10 lengths the following year, Kentford Grey Lady went down by four lengths in 2012 and the mighty mare had one and a half lengths to spare over Sirene D'Ainay 12 months ago.

With Quevega having appeared at just the Cheltenham and Punchestown festivals for the last few seasons, there is always a touch of mystery surrounding her preparation, but Ruby Walsh had a confident smile on his face when giving the latest update on her well-being this term.

The jockey told At The Races: "She's in really good form and it would be unbelievable if she could go back and win a sixth Mares' Hurdle. It would be an incredible achievement, but I'd say she's in good nick."

Highly-rated stablemate Annie Power still figures among the other entries but that is thought to be just as a precaution, with the Ladbrokes World Hurdle expected to be her number one target ahead of the Stan James Champion Hurdle.

Last year's runner-up Sirene D'Ainay is one of two possible French raiders alongside Uddy, while the leading British-based contenders include the John Quinn-trained Cockney Sparrow, winner of a trial race at Wetherby in November, Down Ace, who is unbeaten in five starts under Rules for Fergal O’Brien, and the Harry Fry-trained Highland Retreat, a winner at Ascot in January.


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Ruby Walsh reports Quevega in 'good nick' ahead of Cheltenham Festival

Quevega is one of 24 entries for the OLBG Mares' Hurdle and is reported in "good nick" ahead of her bid to secure a historic sixth straight Cheltenham Festival success in this 2m 4f contest.

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