CLASSY JADE’S A TRUE JEWEL

Star at­trac­tion can be the Ap­ple’s of El­liott’s eye

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - Irish Racing Latest - BY RYAN McELLIGOTT

THE re­turn­ing Ap­ple’s Jade could head an­other good day at Na­van for Gor­don El­liott by land­ing the Grade 2 Lis­mullen Hur­dle.

The trainer’s star mare is likely to be at her most vul­ner­a­ble on her first run of the sea­son and a cou­ple of her ri­vals have an edge in terms of fit­ness.

How­ever, she should still need plenty of beat­ing as the best of her form does put her some way ahead of these ri­vals.

Last sea­son, Ap­ple’s Jade turned in some crack­ing ef­forts headed by that mem­o­rable Chel­tenham vic­tory over Min and Vroum Vroum Mag.

She went on to trounce some qual­ity mares in a Punchestown Grade 1, while her ear­lier ef­forts in­cluded a Hat­ton’s Grace Hur­dle tri­umph.

On that form she sets a high stan­dard and she can over­come her lack of a re­cent run to see off the Jer’s Girl.

That one won a Flat maiden at Roscom­mon in Septem­ber and then ran a re­spectable fourth to Jezki at Tip­per­ary later that week.

Gavin Cromwell’s charge is a qual­ity sort at her best and she looks a stronger chal­lenger than Monksland, who re­cently won a con­di­tions hur­dle at Thurles.

El­liott (in­set) could also pick up the Grade 3 For Auc­tion Novice Hur­dle with Mengli Khan.

This four-year-old showed up nicely in two starts over hur­dles last sea­son and he re­turned to ac­tion with a stylish vic­tory at this track seven weeks ago. He was a shade keen on that oc­ca­sion, but will hope­fully set­tle bet­ter this time and he does ap­peal as one that could do very well over hur­dles this term.

A likely dan­ger is Stra­tum who looked an­other nice prospect for Wil­lie Mullins when he won a Gal­way maiden hur­dle.

He was re­turn­ing from an 11month break on that oc­ca­sion and it was his first out­ing over hur­dles so there will be more to come from him.

In the Grade 2 For­tria Chase, Alisier D’Ir­lande makes most ap­peal on his first start of the sea­son.

This free-wheel­ing geld­ing is one that can give his sup­port­ers the odd anx­ious mo­ment, but this looks a per­fect race for him. If he can dom­i­nate his ri­vals from an early stage, he is quite likely to gal­lop them into the ground.

An in­ter­est­ing be­gin­ners chase could go to Foot­pad, who is an ex­cit­ing re­cruit to fences for this sea­son. Formerly a Grade 1 win­ner in France, the Wil­lie Mullins geld­ing turned in some crack­ing ef­forts last term. These in­cluded a fourth in the Cham­pion Hur­dle at Chel­tenham and a fine third in a top-class stay­ing hur­dle at Punchestown.

Even though he lacks a run and pre­vi­ous chas­ing ex­pe­ri­ence he could just have too much for Bre­lade who has been sec­ond on his first two runs over fences.

ODDS ON FAVOURITE Ap­ple’s Jade is dif­fi­cult to op­pose on sea­sonal de­but at Na­van today

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