Gordon Elliott was a relieved man after seeing his mare Apple’s Jade come back to her best form in winning the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan.
The Gigginstown House-owned six-year-old is already a multiple Grade One winner but last season ended on a low-note as she was beaten by Willie Mullins’ Benie Des Dieux at both the Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals.
Elliott felt there were mitigating factors in those disappointments and was delighted to see Apple’s Jade ‘back’ at Navan.
She was forced to make the running under Jack Kennedy but Apple’s Jade was still cruising turning for home and she powered away to win by 11-lengths from former Champion Hurdler Jezki.
Twice a top-level winner in Ireland in the early part of last season, Apple’s Jade will be heading next to defend her crown in the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse, says her trainer.
“She had to do the donkey work and she’ll even come on a little bit from the run but we’re delighted, it was a great run,” Elliott said afterwards.
“We’ll definitely go to Fairyhouse now for the Hatton’s Grace. She looks a different mare than the one you saw on her last two runs of last season.
It was nice to get her back on track. She showed a lot of her old spark there I thought.
“She was dead as a maggot when she was in season but she’s like a bull going around there today. She’s back. Jack said she jumped a little bit right but she always does that. With a bit of company she’ll be better but we had to make the running because we didn’t want it to turn into a sprint.”