Apple’s Jade is set to face five rivals when she bids for an historic fourth victory in the BARONERACING.COM Hatton’s Grace Hurdle.
Gordon Elliott’s brilliant mare scooted to a 20-length success 12 months ago – becoming the third three-time winner of the two-and-a-half-mile Grade One at Fairyhouse after Limestone Lad (1999, 2001 and 2002) and Solerina (2003, 2004 and 2005).
However, she will return with something to prove as she goes in search of the four-timer on Sunday – having disappointed at Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown in the spring, and had to make do with the runner-up spot on her reappearance in the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan.
Willie Mullins has whittled his team down to three, with star mare Benie Des Dieux a notable absentee.
The champion trainer instead relies on Lismullen Hurdle winner Bacardys, Killultagh Vic and the 2018 Stayers’ Hurdle hero Penhill – who has been sidelined since chasing home stablemate Faugheen at Punchestown the following month.
The field is completed by Henry de Bromhead’s unbeaten mare Honeysuckle and John Joe Walsh’s stable star Davids Charm.
“He’s in good form, but it looks a hot race this year – and if we can pick up some place money we’ll be happy,” said Walsh.