Apple’s Jade bids to retain Cheltenham crown

Apple's Jade

APPLE’S JADE has carved out a reputation as one of the leading hurdlers and will be aiming to secure another victory at the Cheltenham Festival in March. The bay mare has won her last five races and her trainer Gordon Elliott will be determined for her to triumph once again in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle in March.

The six-year-old has  a good record at Cheltenham having won the Mares’ race last season. She was also second in the Triumph Hurdle in 2016. Apple’s Jade is considered the leading contender for another victory and William Hill punters have caused her horse racing odds to contract to 5/6.

The French-bred horse was not considered the favourite for last year’s event but with Bryan Cooper in the saddle she rose to the occasion to surge through the field. The winner in 2016, Vroum Vroum Mag, almost snatched victory but Apple’s Jade fought off her rival to secure the win by one-and-a-half lengths.

After that triumph, the mare entered the Mares’ Champion Hurdle with momentum. Cooper was once again at the reins and she produced a dominant performance after overcoming an early mistake. She settled in the leading pack in the early stages but then improved to lead with two fences remaining. Apple’s Jade put the race to bed quickly to win by 19 lengths, ending her season on a high note.

So far so good in 2017/18 for Apple’s Jade

She returned to action for the start of the 2017-18 National Hunt campaign at Navan in the Lismullen Hurdle. Jack Kennedy took the reins and he did not disappoint as she reeled off her third straight win, displaying no signs of ring rustiness after an absence of six months from the track, edging out her nearest rival by two lengths.

She won the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle in 2016 and she continued her fine record in the race at Fairyhouse. Apple’s Jade powered through the field to claim a comfortable victory by nine lengths, cantering down the home straight with ease.

Apple’s Jade arrived at Leopardstown looking for her fifth win on the bounce at the Christmas Hurdle. Davy Russell took over the reins and immediately had her challenging for the lead in the early stages. Elliott’s charge was unable to pull away from Supasundae, who provided a tough challenge towards the end of the contest. However, Apple’s Jade found an extra gear to move clear to claim the victory by half a length.

She looks to be in prime form ahead of the defence of her Cheltenham crown. She has established herself as the leading mare in her field, although a challenge could emerge from Vroum Vroum Mag once again. However, history suggests Apple’s Jade holds the aces over her rival and she should be able to defend her title.

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