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Last Updated: March 13, 2012 5:45pm
Quevega: Four successive wins in the mares' race
Quevega proved she is still the best mare in training with another convincing victory in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Sent off at 4/7, Willie Mullins' eight-year-old won the race for the fourth time in succession and never looked like losing her unbeaten record in the race.
Ruby Walsh, atoning for the disappointing defeat of Hurricane Fly earlier in the day, was happy to bide his time on Quevega as he held up his charge off a steady pace.
And although there was a wall of horses in front of her turning for home, all eyes were on the scarlet and blue colours Walsh was carrying.
And when the jockey pressed the button the response was typically impressive, Quevega quickening to lead going to the final flight before sprinting away on the run-in to win by four lengths, with Kentford Grey Lady (14/1) staying on to take second place ahead of Golden Sunbird (66/1) in a bunched finish for the minor places.
Mullins said: "She's an extraordinary mare.
"To come out every year without a run and do that, and do it in the style she did today, she's extraordinary.
"I said to Ruby how did you wait and hold your nerve coming down the hill, and he said 'well I'd nowhere else to go!'.
"She has a beautiful temperament and that's why we can do this (bring her straight to Cheltenham each year).
"I'd hate to try and do it with the likes of Hurricane Fly, but every day I send this mare out to do something she'll do it.
"If she does too much work, she'll let me know as she's just not good the following day. If she's like that I just back off her and let her come back into form.
"She has her own way of doing things, but she's a quite easy read.
"If you owned a horse good enough to win at Cheltenham, why not run it in a race it's good enough to win?
"If she was running in the Champion Hurdle or the World Hurdle, she might have only won one mares' race and maybe finished second or third in either of those races.
"This race was made for her and we're going to keep her in training. Someone said something about breeding but I told the owner I'll buy him a foal or I'll buy him two if she stays in training!
"She is in good order and they are racehorse owners rather than breeders, so I'm happy to race her."
He added: "It's a huge relief. Hurricane Fly was disappointing and we had no luck in the cross-country.
"I hope she comes back to make it five (next year). We'll head to Punchestown now and come back here next year."
Walsh said: "It's been a bad day but she's some mare.
"She travelled and jumped brilliantly. I wouldn't riding her again this day next year. The owners aren't breeders so why not do it?
"It wasn't a mad gallop but she travelled really well and jumped really well. When the gap came in the straight, she accelerated really well.
"We didn't have much room coming down the hill but I knew I had loads of horse. I sat where I was and she did what she had to do."
Walsh was full of praise for Mullins, saying: "It's some going bringing her back here four years in a row, three years even without a prep run. It says enough doesn't it?
"It's not as easy as he lets on."