Apple's Jade - Second in WKD Hurdle and now winning GR1 Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham
14 Mar 2017
Apple's Jade did it the hard way, but the Gordon Elliott-trained mare was extremely tenacious in front to defeat the Willie Mullins-trained pair of Limini and Vroum Vroum Mag in the Grade 1 OLBG Mares Hurdle on day one at Cheltenham. The race had fallen to Mullins eight times in the previous nine runnings, but his two big guns could not get past Apple's Jade, who won at 7-2. It was a race that encapsulated the Irish jumps season in microcosm, with Elliott and Mullins fighting out the finish, and the former, who leads the way in the trainers' championship, coming out on top. Bryan Cooper was positive on Apple's Jade out in front, while Limini and Vroum Vroum Mag were towards the rear. Paul Townend charted a wide course on Vroum Vroum Mag, while Ruby Walsh took Limini down the inside as the runners came to the top of the hill. All three arrived at the last virtually in line, although 6-4 favourite Limini fluffed the final flight, while 11-4 chance Vroum Vroum Mag could not get past Apple's Jade, who won by a length and a half.