Naas preview: Benie Des Dieux aiming to extend unbeaten run in Opera Hat

Fri 9 Feb 2018

Benie Des Dieux puts her huge reputation on the line in the BBA Ireland Limited Opera Hat Mares Chase at Naas on Saturday.

The French import created a striking impression on her first start for Willie Mullins at Limerick in December 2016 and made a successful return from almost a year off the track in a Listed contest at Carlisle.

She remains at Listed level but drops in distance to two miles this weekend and is likely to be a warm order to extend her unbeaten record over fences to three.

Mullins said: "It is going to be a very good race. Benie Des Dieux appears to be a mare that is improving all the time and the ground or trip shouldn't pose any problem for her.

"We'll know a bit more after Saturday where we'll be going with her for the rest of the season."

Benie Des Dieux is entered in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle and the Ryanair Chase at next month's Cheltenham Festival and is a best priced 20-1 for both.

The seven-year-old faces five rivals this weekend, including high-class stablemate Asthuria, who claimed her second victory over fences over the course and distance last month.

Mullins added: "Asthuria won at Naas earlier in the year so she likes it around the course and distance and the ground won't be an issue for her.

"She will probably have to improve a little, but she's at the time of her career where that is possible.

"It'll be fascinating to see which of them improves the most."

Gordon Elliott saddles Dinaria Des Obeaux, who won for the third time in five starts over fences when landing a Grade Two at Thurles last month.

"She's in good form and I'm happy with her," said Elliott.

"It looks a competitive race but she'd appear to have a chance on ratings and I'm looking forward to running her."

Presenting Mahler, Youcantcallherthat and Shangary Molly complete the line-up.

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