The trio of Benie des Dieux (Willie Mullins), Roksana (Dan Skelton) and Honeysuckle (Henry de Bromhead), winners of the 2018, 2019 and 2020 Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle respectively, all feature among the 26 entries for the 2021 running of the two and a half mile contest.
Honeysuckle, who is also entered in the Unibet Champion Hurdle, has continued her forward march this season, taking her G1 tally to five with victory in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse in November.
Roksana, who was fourth to Honeysuckle last season, began her season with a G2 success at Wetherby in October and was far from disgraced when third behind Paisley Park and Thyme Hill in the G1 Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in December.
Benie des Dieux fell at the last when looking in command in the 2019 renewal before finishing runner-up to Honeysuckle in 2020. She has yet to start since and is one of six entries for trainer Willie Mullins, who dominates the roll of honour with an amazing nine victories – headed by six-time scorer Quevega. His entries this year also include Concertista, successful in the G2 Daylesford Mares' Novices' Hurdle at The Festival™ last season plus Cesarewitch Handicap winner Great White Shark.
Other leading contenders include Dame de Compagnie (Nicky Henderson), a three-time winner at the Home of Jump Racing including in the 2020 G3 Coral Cup at The Festival™.
There is a scratchings deadline for the Close Brothers Hurdle on 9 February, with the six-day confirmation stage and supplementary entry stage following on 10 March.
CLOSE BROTHERS MARES' HURDLE (Registered as The David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle Race) (Grade 1)
- Anythingforlove (GB) 6 11 5 Foxtrot Racing Anythingforlove Jamie Snowden
- Benie des Dieux (FR) 10 11 5 Mrs S. Ricci W. P. Mullins IRE
- Black Tears (GB) 7 11 5 Mrs C Walsh/Mr J Lightfoot Gordon Elliott IRE
- Concertista (FR) 7 11 5 Mr Simon Munir/Mr Isaac Souede W. P. Mullins IRE
- Dame de Compagnie (FR) 8 11 5 Mr John P. McManus Nicky Henderson
- Dame du Soir (FR) 8 11 5 CWB Plus 1 Partnership David Bridgwater
- Daylight Katie (FR) 8 11 5 Coldunell Limited Gordon Elliott IRE
- Dolcita (FR) 6 11 5 Sullivan Bloodstock Limited Fergal O'Brien
- Eglantine du Seuil (FR) 7 11 5 Sullivan Bloodstock Limited Paul Nicholls
- Elimay (FR) 7 11 5 Mr John P. McManus W. P. Mullins IRE
- Floressa (FR) 6 11 5 Just Four Men Nicky Henderson
- Great White Shark (FR) 7 11 5 Mr Malcolm C. Denmark W. P. Mullins IRE
- Honeysuckle (GB) 7 11 5 Mr K. Alexander Henry de Bromhead IRE
- Indefatiiregable (IRE) 8 11 5 Mr Philip Rocher Paul Webber
- Midnights' Gift (GB) 5 11 5 Pitchall Stud Partnership Alan King
- Minella Melody (IRE) 7 11 5 Mr K. Alexander Henry de Bromhead IRE
- My Sister Sarah (IRE) 7 11 5 Barnane Stud W. P. Mullins IRE
- Perfect Myth (GB) 7 11 5 Mr R. J. Vines Neil King
- Rayna's World (IRE) 6 11 5 Ace Bloodstock & Rayna Fitzgerald Philip Kirby
- Robin de Carlow (GB) 8 11 5 Catchherifucan & Brett Graham Syndicate W. P. Mullins IRE
- Roksana (IRE) 9 11 5 Mrs Sarah Faulks Dan Skelton
- Sayce Gold (IRE) 8 11 5 Mr Trevor Hemmings Michael Winters IRE
- The Glancing Queen (IRE) 7 11 5 Dingwall, Farrell, Hornsey & Murray Alan King
- Verdana Blue (IRE) 9 11 5 Mrs Doreen Tabor Nicky Henderson
- Whitehotchillifili (IRE) 7 11 5 Chasing Gold Racing Club Harry Fry
- Wynn House (GB) 6 11 5 Mr Rupert Anton Alan King