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The 2020 Cheltenham festival is now just seven weeks away as connections get their final runs into horses ahead of the marquee event of the national hunt season. Punters are continuing to use the best coupon codes for their anti-post selections, as Benie Des Dieux is set to go off as the Willie Mullins Cheltenham festival banker.
At nine years of age, she will be looking to continue her remarkable run of form since joining Willie Mullins back in December of 2016. She landed her first start in Ireland by winning a Mares Beginners chase by 30 lengths on the bridle. This gave a first indication that they have another very classy mare on their hands, following on from the likes of Annie Power and Quevega.
Following a further 339 day break, Benie returned by landed a listed Mares chase at Carlisle by eight lengths. Another eye catching performance, as she quickened clear after the last. She then backed this up with another listed Mares chase victory at Naas, as she stayed on powerfully to beat stablemate Asthuria by just over two lengths.
Benie Des Dieux was then given her first start at the Cheltenham festival, as she contested the Grade One Mares hurdle. She travelled well under Ruby Walsh but looked beaten before making headway from three out. She continued to make relentless headway before leading up the testing Cheltenham hill. This saw her just get the better of Midnight Tour and 1/2 favourite Apple’s Jade.
Benie then continued her winning run for Mullins in her final start of the season. This saw her land the Grade One Mares Champion hurdle at Punchestown by just over three lengths from stablemate Augusta Kate. Benie was then given a 318 day break and returned at a shade of odds on to contest the Mares hurdle at the 2019 Cheltenham festival. She was put up as Willie Mullins banker of the week, looking to continue her winning run. Benie travelled with ease in behind before taking up the running from two out. She was three lengths up and in command before falling at the last, as Roksana went on to land the race. This was a shocking result and almost identical to the fall Annie Power suffered in the race previous for the same connections.
Following a short break, Benie then returned by again landing the Mares Champion hurdle at Punchestown by just over nine lengths from stablemate Stormy Ireland. Just a few weeks’ later and she was sent over to contest the French champion hurdle against the home favourite De Bon Coeur. The latter was sent off as the 2/5 favourite and expected to take all the beating. It was wide open at three out, before Benie made her move and led from two out, before putting the race to bed in a matter of strides to win readily by just over six lengths.
— At The Races (@AtTheRaces) May 18, 2019
This was an incredible performance and another example of just how good Benie is. If she returns in similar form this season, then she is surely going to take all the beating again in the Mares hurdle at the festival.