Apple’s Jade: won two Grade 1s during her juvenile campaign
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Jennings 12:55PM 12 OCT 2016
A FORMER resident could come back to bite Willie Mullins after Gordon Elliott revealed to the Racing Post that Apple’s Jade will be trained with the Stan James Champion Hurdle in mind this season, not the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle.
Mullins has won four of the last six runnings of the Champion Hurdle with Hurricane Fly (twice), Faugheen and Annie Power but Apple’s Jade, the Triumph Hurdle runner-up who went on the win the Grade 1 juvenile hurdles at Aintree and Punchestown by a combined total of 50 lengths for the Irish champion trainer, now looks the biggest danger to his dominance.
Apple’s Jade is as short as 2-1 for the Mares’ Hurdle but the Champion Hurdle, for which she is a general 8-1 chance, is her main aim and she looks likely to make her reappearance in the Grade 3 Fishery Lane Hurdle at Naas on November 12.
“She is an amazing horse to get into the yard. She looks so exciting. I have never had a proper Champion Hurdle hope before. With Identity Thief going chasing, I would imagine Apple’s Jade will be aimed at the Champion Hurdle,” Elliott said.
He added: “We are not 100 per cent sure where she will start off but at the moment I am looking at the Fishery Lane Hurdle at Naas in the second week of November. She hasn’t done a full, proper piece of work yet but she is set to do one over the next couples of days. Of all the Gigginstown horses that were coming out of Willie’s, Apple’s Jade was probably the one I wanted most along with Blow By Blow.”
Don Poli plans
Elliott also confirmed that Don Poli, another ex-Mullins inmate, will make his first start for him in the Grade 1 JNWine.com Champion Chase at Down Royal on November 5.
“With things still uncertain surrounding Don Cossack – although everything has gone great so far – I was hoping I might get another top staying chaser in the Gigginstown reshuffle so I was thrilled to get Don Poli. His form speaks for itself and he will run in the Grade 1 at Down Royal next month,” Elliott said.
Another exciting recruit to the Elliott yard is the unbeaten Lucky Pass who won his sole point-to-point and two bumpers for Willie Mullins last season.