Apple’s Jade heads quality list of 12 contenders for Irish Champion Hurdle

Grade One heat is the highlight of the first day of the Dublin Racing Festival

  • Thursday 10 January
  • News
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Apple’s Jade heads 12 entries for the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle on the first day of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown on February 2.

Gordon Elliott’s mare has added a further two Grade Ones to her bulging C.V. already this season, scoring over three miles in the Christmas Hurdle on her most recent start.

Elliott has also entered last season’s Triumph Hurdle winner Farclas, Tombstone and Samcro, although news emerged yesterday that the latter is unlikely to be seen out before Punchestown in April.

Faugheen, Laurina and Sharjah are among six Willie Mullins-trained entries.

Former champion hurdler Faugheen needs to bounce back from a heavy fall at Christmas, but his stablemates are heading there in better form.

Laurina showed she was on good terms with herself with a stroll at Sandown recently, while Sharjah has surprised even Mullins with his progress in the first half of the season.

Since winning the Galway Hurdle off top weight, he has also claimed the Morgiana Hurdle – beating Faugheen in the process – and the Ryanair Hurdle at Christmas.

Last year’s Champion Hurdle runner-up Melon, Cilaos Emery and Saldier could also represent Mullins.

Last year’s winner Supasundae and Henry de Bromhead’s Petit Mouchoir are the only other two entries.

Irish regular Simply Ned is one of 15 entries in the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase over two miles.

Nicky Richards’ veteran flew fast and late to catch Footpad over Christmas and the two could clash again.

Footpad forms part of a four-strong Mullins entry with Great Field, Min and Un De Sceaux also in the mix.

Ruth Jefferson’s Waiting Patiently has been given the option of running in this or the Unibet Irish Gold Cup 24 hours later

A Grade One winner last season, he did not return until the King George VI Chase in which he was brought down.

Other possibles from Britain are Harry Fry’s Hell’s Kitchen and Harry Whittington’s Saint Calvados.

Sizing John, winner of the 2017 Cheltenham Gold Cup, and former champion chaser Special Tiara also have the option.

Joseph O’Brien’s Le Richebourg is one of 19 in the Frank Ward Solicitors Irish Arkle.

Mengli Khan, Paloma Blue and Hardline are potential opponents with Richards’ Reivers Lad and Gary Moore’s Knocknanuss also in the mix.

A monster entry of 57 has been received for the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle.

Grade One winner Battleoverdoyen heads Elliott’s big entry, with Derrinross for Philip Dempsey and Champion Bumper winner Relegate among potential rivals.

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