Apple’s Jade will have an easy week after winning her third Hatton’s Grace Hurdle – in which it has emerged she pulled off a shoe at Fairyhouse.
While Gordon Elliott does not expect the issue to force her out of her next intended race at Leopardstown over Christmas, it has required treatment.
“She pulled a shoe on her near-fore at Fairyhouse. She had no shoe coming back in and pulled a bit of her hoof away – so we just have a poultice on,” said Elliott.
“She’ll have an easy time this week and will go straight to Leopardstown all being well. She has a couple of entries, but I’d imagine she’ll go for the Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle (over three miles).”
Reflecting on Sunday’s victory, Elliott added: “It’s unbelievable to think she’s only a six-year-old and she’s won eight Grade One races. She looks like she is getting better.
“She was in season at Cheltenham and Punchestown last year. Whether we were unlucky or it was just that time of year, I don’t know. In fairness, she was only beaten a few lengths but just didn’t shine both days.
“We have spoken with a couple of veterinary surgeons and we are going to do a little procedure on her after Christmas, so we hope she won’t come back in season.”
There has been talk of a Champion Hurdle bid, but that looks unlikely.
“She would get the mares allowance in a Champion Hurdle – but from what I saw of Buveur D’Air the other day, I think he is going to be very hard to beat,” said Elliott.
“I’m a big believer in going for the race you have the best chance of winning, and at Cheltenham that is the Mares’ Hurdle. There is a lot of water to go under the bridge between now and then.”
Elliott got to witness Buveur D’Air at Newcastle, where his Samcro was put well in his place, and he did not rule out stepping back up in trip.
“You are always disappointed when you don’t win – but there was no excuse, and he ran his heart out. He jumped and galloped to the line but was just beaten by a very good horse,” he said.
“He pulled clear of last year’s Supreme Novices’ winner (Summerville Boy). That was as good as he was on the day, and there is no making excuses.
“I thought if we were ever going to beat him it might be then – because we had a run under our belt, and he was making his reappearance. It’s going to be hard to turn the tables – but you should never be afraid of one horse, and a lot can happen between now and March.
“There is every chance he could step up in trip. I didn’t get a chance to talk with (owners) Michael and Eddie (O’Leary) yet, but I’m sure we’ll have a chat around the end of the week.
“He’s come out of the race well, and he looks brilliant.”