Cheltenham Champion Hurdle
Apples Jade looks set to go off favourite for the 2019 Champion Hurdle and we’re happy to back her to cap a memorable National Hunt season by claiming the major prize on Day One of the Cheltenham Festival.
The mare has already landed an Irish Champion Hurdle victory this season and will run for trainer Gordon Elliott who had a fabulous Cheltenham in 2018 and looks to have a very strong book of rides again.
Jockey Jack Kennedy admits that he wouldn’t swap his ride for anything else in the Champion Hurdle, with the soft ground likely to come in Apples Jade’s favour and she will be seven pounds better off than the male runners in the race.
That includes reigning champion Buveur D’air, with the horse bidding to land a consecutive hat-trick of titles in this race, although there’s a question of the calibre of horses he has had to beat in the previous two renewals.
Buveur D’air has been beaten this season and isn’t perhaps as invincible as his form would suggest, even if Nicky Henderson has reported that his champion is fighting fit.
While jockey Barry Geraghty has also made the right noises about his ride for this race, he admits that Apples Jade possesses a very lively threat to the crown, while Laurina is another that cannot be dismissed.
Laurina is another wonder mare who could yet sweep all before her, with the Willie Mullins-trained horse also receiving the weight allowance because of her gender and that could make it an interesting race.
Mullins knows how to saddle a Champion Hurdle winner, with Annie Power a mare who has already delivered the goods, while Hurricane Fly and Faugheen have also delivered for the Irish trainer.
However, Apples Jade is the horse that has produced the eye-catching performances this season and it should be noted that she has ten Grade 1 successes under her belt, with this including a victory in the Mares Hurdle race two years ago.
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Apples Jade to win @ 3.00 (2/1) with bet365