When Apple’s Jade shoots for yet another Grade One win in the BHP Insurance Champion Hurdle, it will not be just her immediate connections who will be keeping a close eye on Leopardstown.
David Lumet, the man who steered the mare’s early days in France, has keenly followed her career since she left his yard to join her first trainer Emmanuel Clayeux – before eventually switching to the powerful axis of Gordon Elliott and Gigginstown House Stud.
Lumet has been a friend of French breeder Pierre Coveliers and his son Ronny for more than 30 years and has been responsible for foaling three generations of their ‘Apple’s’ family – with Apple’s Jade marking herself as an exceptional individual from her first canter onwards.
“From birth, Apple’s Jade always had a phenomenal amount of energy,” said Lumet.
“She never stood still and was always bouncing around the place, even as a small foal. Her entire family have been like that, especially the fillies.
“I have had three generations of her family before her, so I know them pretty well! In fact, her grandmother Apple’s Girl only passed away two months ago at 29 years of age.”
The grand-daughter always had a remarkable constitution too.
Lumet added: “Apple’s Jade was remarkably healthy when she was young, because she never had a single problem from birth, not even the occasional snotty nose that you would expect from a young horse.
“It was very hard to tell if she was actually any good when we started breaking her in, because she spent all her time jumping all over the place. She was like an unruly teenager, and the biggest challenge was to get her to just go in a straight line – she had so much energy.
“I will never forget the first time she did a proper canter. She came back afterwards and she was barely out of breath – which is unheard of in that young a horse – then she promptly leapt in the air and almost unseated her rider!
“I think I knew at that moment that she was something special.
“I had her from birth until she went into training with Emmanuel Clayeux as a three-year-old, and in all that time I never managed to properly tire her out through work. She had the engine of a champion.”
While Lumet has followed the career of Apple’s Jade avidly, he has only seen her strut her stuff on the racecourse once.
He said: “The only time I ever saw her race was when she won first time out at Vichy. She was sold to Ireland after that, and I have never seen her in the flesh since – although I follow her career closely of course.
“I am so busy at home that it is hard to get away, but it would be nice to be there and see her win a big race some day.”
The Coveliers are no longer active breeders – so her dam, Apple’s For Ever, is now owned in partnership by Lumet and Thierry Cypres.
Lumet added: “It is actually my wife Catherine who is responsible for the breeding side of things. She is a qualified vet and she is up at 5am before she goes to work looking after our band of 20 broodmares – and still out in the yard after work until 11pm every day.
“She is an amazing woman, and I couldn’t do any of this without her.
“Apple’s For Ever is currently in foal to Pastorius and has a three-year-old full brother to Apple’s Jade, Apple’s Du Pont, and a two-year-old half-brother by Martaline named Apple’s Pierro.
“We also still have a full-sister to Apple’s Jade to breed from. Her name is Madame Apple’s – and her first foal last year, a filly by Crossharbour, was a carbon copy of Apple’s Jade physically.
“We have named her Mademoiselle Apple’s, and it would be amazing if she had her talent too.”