I know, I know, it’s Apple’s Jade again. But this time there should be no excuses, and after the bizarre decision to run her over three miles at Aintree having beaten Supasundae pointless over this trip, it’s time to make amends, and assuming she is healthy, she can run riot.
17:30 Punchestown Champion Hurdle
Several of these ran at Aintree, and while Apple’s Jade failed to land a sizeable gamble in the Liverpool Hurdle, she simply failed to sustain a brutal pace at the extended three miles, and she will be better off back at the trip she slammed Supasundae over in the Irish Champion Hurdle in February. This is her chance to silence the doubters, but those who witnessed her wins in the Hatton’s Grace and her Leopardstown romp don’t need convincing. She again showed a tendency to go out to her right at Aintree, and that track is less forgiving than some, so the return to a right-handed track will also help.
The bottom line is that a repeat of her Aintree performance would be enough to put her amongst Supasundae and Buveur D’Air, while the latter has completely lost any air of invincibility he once had.
I said at the time that Apple’s Jade was in completely the wrong race at Aintree, and connections must have had the same thought when Supasundae won. That’s the same Supasundae that Apple’s Jade has met four times and beaten squarely four times, with the most hard-fought win coming over three miles, which is quite simply beyond her optimum.
18:05 Alannah Homes Champion Novice Hurdle
Sams Profile has no obvious chance of turning the tables with City Island on Cheltenham running, but he’s a horse who I can see progressing further with experience, and while it would be asking a lot for him to win, I can see him hitting the frame at a fair price.
He very much caught the eye when second in a Grade 1 novice at Naas in January, losing ground with some novicey hurdling but running on really well from between the last two to finish an excellent second to Battleoverdoyen. He ran well to be fifth to City Island in the Ballymore but seemed to find the trip stretching him on softish ground, and the slightly easier test here will help.
He fared best of those to race prominently in a well-run race at Cheltenham and can be marked up for it.
Reserve Tank has his beating on a line through Brewin’upastorm, but such lines are not set in stone, and I reckon Davy Russell will get the best out of Mouse Morris’s charge here.
18:35 Star Champion Hunters Chase
Caid du Berlais was the only British-trained winner at this meeting last year, and he didn’t just win, he wiped the floor with his rivals, and is worth forgiving a rare poor run at Cheltenham last time as he bids to give Rose Loxton a repeat. His preparation for the Foxhunter was not ideal, but he didn’t have a hard race in the end and will be fresher than most now.
I have reservations about the market leaders, with Burning Ambition a bridle merchant who was outbattled at Aintree, Ucello Conti nowhere near as good as his win record in points/hunters would imply, and Stand Up And Fight yet to really show why he’s held in such high regard.
The last named of that trio may be the one to step up now given Enda Bolger gets little wrong with such types, but rather than lay a couple at the top, it makes sense to back Caid du Berlais instead as he is the best horse in the race based on form over the past 12 months, and I would recommend a small saver on the improving Fenno’s Storm, who has won the Tetratema Cup at Gowran for the last two years and was very brave in defeat at Fairyhouse between those victories.
- 17:30 Back Apple’s Jade to win @ 2.90 or bigger for 20pts
- 18:05 Back Sams Profile to place @ 4.6 or bigger for 5pts
- 18:35 Back Caid Du Berlais to win @ 6.6 or bigger for 6pts
- 18:35 Back Fenno’s Storm to win @ 10.0 or bigger for 4pts