David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle

Run for sponsorship purposes, as the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle since 2012, the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle is run in memory of David “The Duke” Nicholson, a successful National Hunt jockey and trainer, who died of a heart attack in 2006, at the age of 67. The race is currently scheduled as fourth race on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival in March each year, but is a recent addition to the Festival, having been run for the first time in 2008. On that occasion, it was run on the New Course on the final day, but was switched to the Old Course on the opening day the following year, where it has remained ever since.

The David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle is run over 2 miles 3 furlongs and 200 yards and, since 2015, has been a Grade 1 contest, which means that the weight carried by each horse is determined by age. The race is restricted to mares aged four years and upwards.

To say the race has been ‘farmed’ by Willie Mullins in no understatement, because the Co. Carlow trainer has saddled all but one of the nine winners so far. Those winners included the extraordinary Quevega (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014), Glens Melody (2015) and Vroum Vroum Mag (2016). Ruby Walsh rode Quevega to all six victories and Vroum Vroum Mag for a total of seven wins.

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