Let’s Dance faces a challenge to knock her rival Apple’s Jade at Cheltenham Festival in the Mares’ Hurdle. Willie Mullins’ charge did not compete against her compatriot in the event last season, although the bay filly did notch the Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle crown.
However, the six-year-old will have to take her level of performance to new heights to knock off Apple’s Jade in March. Gordon Elliott’s charge is the favourite for the event at odds of 5/6 to retain her Mares’ hurdle title, highlighting the task ahead of Let’s Dance to triumph at the Festival.
The bay filly made her debut at Cheltenham in the Triumph Hurdle in just the third race of her career. The French horse was considered an outsider for the meeting but still put forward a solid performance, finishing in fourth, although she was well off the pace of winner Ivanovich Gorbatov.
Apple’s Jade finished ahead of Let’s Dance in the race and did so once again in their next outing at Punchestown. Her compatriot had the speed down the stretch to pull away to win the AES Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle by nine lengths.
However, Mullins’ charge did end her 2015/16 campaign on a high note by riding to victory at the Special Olympics Day Maiden Hurdle in Sligo by a comfortable margin. Let’s Dance began the next term continuing her momentum from the final race of the previous term. Ruby Walsh guided the French horse through a talented field at the Grabel Mares Hurdle before taking the lead down the final straight, beating out her rivals by two-and-three-quarter lengths.
She would dominate for the rest of the campaign, beginning at the E.B.F. Mares Hurdle where the competition could not cope with her pace in the closing stages at Leopardstown. Let’s Dance was able to overcome a difficult start to the Novice Hurdle at the end of January in 2017. Walsh provided the stability needed to get the French horseback on the straight-and-narrow before she cantered away to beat Kemboy by six lengths.
Mullins’ charge entered Cheltenham Festival as the favourite for the Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. The bay filly duly delivered on expectations as she used her speed to drift away from the rest of the field towards the closing stages, edging out her nearest rival by two and three-quarter lengths.
Her run of victories came to an end at the E.B.F. Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final at Fairyhouse. Although Let’s Dance put forward a strong performance, she did just not have the pace to chase down Augusta Kate and beat out her rival down the straight.
The French horse returned to Punchestown to defend her Grabel Mares Hurdle crown. However, the six-year-old suffered the first fall of her career, tumbling at the seventh fence after being considered the favourite to secure the victory, with Walsh suffering a broken leg in the process. However, with Paul Townend in the saddle, she returned to form at the Irish EBF Mares Hurdle, rallying from a slow start to the race before racing through the field to clinch the victory by 8 lengths ahead of Forge Meadow.
Let’s Dance has the talent to defeat her rival at the Mares’ Hurdle, but she will have to produce a flawless display to win the crown.