Punchestown Festival: Apple’s Jade a Champion gem
David Metcalf | April 29, 2016
Apple’s Jade can secure top juvenile crown
Apple’s Jade put in an astonishing performance when winning last time out and looks a worthy odds-on favourite to follow-up in the Grade 1 Aes Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival (16.25).
The Willie Mullins trained filly won her first two starts over obstacles in the style of an above average performer, and showed a willing attitude in the second of those to dig deep and beat Jer’s Girl by a head in the Grade 2 Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown.
Jer’s Girl has since gone on to bolt-up by 13 lengths in a Grade 1 contest at Fairyhouse to give the form a solid look, and Apple’s Jade went on to finish a fine second to Ivanovich Gorbatov in the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Breathtaking display at Aintree
The Gigginstown House Stud owned daughter of Jeremy then got revenge on Ivanovich Gorbatov in no uncertain terms when landing the Grade 1 Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree earlier in the month.
Apple’s Jade travelled like a dream throughout and after taking up the running three from home shot clear without being asked a serious question to win easing down by 41 lengths in a quick time.
It was a breathtaking display, and one of the most impressive performances I have ever seen by a juvenile.
The only concern is that this race may come too quick, but Apple’s Jade has not had a hard season and if turning up in anywhere near the same form is going to be very difficult to beat.
No excuses for Ivanovich
There didn’t appear to be any excuses for Ivanovich Gorbatov at Aintree, but he still looks the obvious choice for the forecast in what looks a two horse race on paper.
The Aidan O’Brien trained gelding had previously shown a smart turn of foot to beat Apple’s Jade in the Triumph, and had been talked as of a contender for next year’s Champion Hurdle on the back of that successes.
Connections have made no secret of the high regard in which the son of Montjeu is held, but he had also bombed out prior to the Festival and his profile is becoming patchy.
On a going day there is little doubt that Ivanovich Gorbatov is very good, but finding 41 lengths to turn the tables Apple’s Jade looks an impossible task.
Coral’s top tip: Apple’s Jade looked something out of the ordinary at Aintree and is impossible to oppose. Ivanovich Gorbatov can chase her home.