I’ve had this horse in mind for the Mares Novice Hurdle at next years festival when she won her second bumper at Limerick - BELLE METAL. She’s trained by Willie Mullins which is probably a decent starting point given he’s won the race 5 times in only 6 runnings since being first introduced at the 2016 festival.
She won her first bumper by 12 lengths at Naas on heavy ground in January. From the 8 horses in opposition, only 2 have won since however she was visually impressive. So much so that she was purchased shortly after the race by Kenneth Alexander (owner of Honeysuckle and coincidentally the winner of this years Mares Novice Hurdle winner Telmesomethinggirl).
She then won her second bumper by 8 lengths at Limerick on heavy ground in March. From the 8 horses in opposition, only 1 has won since but again she was visually impressive and worth noting that Patrick Mullins rode at 11st 1lbs which was his lowest riding weight in a fair while.
She was entered in a bumper at Punchestown, however bypassed the festival completely and can only assume she was put away with next season in mind. 4 of the 5 Mullins Mares Novice Hurdle winners were 5 year olds - Limini, Let’s Dance, Laurina and Eglantine Du Seuil. Concertista was a 6 year old when she won the race in 2020, however did finish 2nd by a short head in the race as a 5 year old. Given that Belle Metal will be a 5 year old by Cheltenham next year and almost certain to be sent over hurdles, this is the obvious route for her (assuming she’s good enough).
Belle Metal is currently best priced 20/1 with B365 and as short as 12/1 with BF/PP. When you consider horses such as Eileendover and Princess Zoe are shorter in the betting and are highly unlikely to ever jump a hurdle, I’d say 20/1 about her is fair enough at this stage to have a few speculative quid on each way.
Fingers crossed she turns out to be half decent, stays healthy and at the very least get a run for my money come March - it’s good to dream!
Agreed Q06, she’s another who’s got to be high up on the list. She was steadily backed before a fairly disappointing debut. However next time out against Stattler she was backed off the boards, I remember it well. She travelled strongly throughout the race and got outstayed on the flat (this was the day they omitted the last 3 hurdles at Leopardstown) - would have been interesting to see the outcome had they not been forced to bypass hurdles. She’s clearly been expensive to follow since but was far from disgraced in this years Mares Novice at The Festival.
I get the impression she’s highly regarded at home but just hasn’t put it altogether on the track for whatever reason. The fact she’s had Cheltenham experience can only be a positive and being a second season novice didn’t hold Concertista back after she was beaten the previous year at The Festival. Best of luck!
Thanks ISLL!Agreed Q06, she’s another who’s got to be high up on the list. She was steadily backed before a fairly disappointing debut. However next time out against Stattler she was backed off the boards, I remember it well. She travelled strong
“She’s a small filly, she handles soft ground very well. She is a mare who is better on the track than she is at home, and being a Listed bumper winner we hope that she will develop into a contender for the mares’ novice in Cheltenham. Both her and Grangee might just lack the scope of one or two of the other mares, but their bumper form is good.”
Patrick Mullins on Belle Metal:“She’s a small filly, she handles soft ground very well. She is a mare who is better on the track than she is at home, and being a Listed bumper winner we hope that she will develop into a contender for the mares’