Apple’s Jade: definite runner in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on February 2
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Five of Ireland’s most successful trainers were in attendance for the launch of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown – here are the pick of their quotes about a few of the stars who will be on show on February 2 and February 3
Gordon Elliott on…
Apple’s Jade (BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle)
She’ll do a bit of work next Tuesday and, if all goes well, she’ll definitely run in the Irish Champion Hurdle. We’ll probably run Farclas and Tombstone too. It’s a big ask but we’ve nothing to lose. If it doesn’t work then so be it. She’s more than likely to go for the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham but she’ll have an entry in the Champion Hurdle. However, I’d say it’s very doubtful she’ll run there.
Apple’s Jade and Jack Kennedy clear the last to win the Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown
Battleoverdoyen (Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle)
He didn’t get to the track last season as he had niggling problems and just kept growing, but this season he’s done everything right. He only won his bumper in late November and has gone on to win a Grade 1 in early January, so he’s done very well in a short space of time. He’s a good horse. He jumps and stays and is a real chaser in the making. I think the two miles six furlongs at Leopardstown will suit him even better than the two and a half miles at Naas.
Commander Of Fleet (Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle)
The Royal Bond is only over two miles and he’ll definitely be better over further. The step up in trip will suit him very well and he wasn’t beaten at all far in the Royal Bond.
Delta Work (Flogas Novice Chase)
He never wins by too far. He didn’t even win his beginners’ chase at Down Royal by much. He does only what he has to – you never know what is under the bonnet. He’s done very well fences and it is all systems go for Leopardstown.
Mengli Khan (Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase)
A good few of mine ran below par over Christmas and he was one of them – he never travelled at all. He was odds-on at one stage in the build up to the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase over Christmas, and now he is 10-1 or 12-1 for this one. He’s a Flat-bred horse and they can always be a bit hot and cold over fences. He seems to be back in very good form at home. Duca De Thaix will run here too. He’s improving fast.
Vision D’honneur (Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle)
Felix Desjy won a Grade 2 on the same day as Vision D’honneur won a maiden hurdle at Punchestown but, I think going forward, Vision D’honneur would be the pick of them and will definitely run in the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown. I thought he’d win on his debut, he finished fourth and the first three home all had runs over hurdles under their belts. Our lad was green and jumped a bit high but he ran well and was beaten only a few lengths. He’s improved an awful lot from that and Jack [Kennedy] even said he thought he’d learn a lot from Punchestown the other day. He’s a smart horse.
Joseph O’Brien on…
Le Richebourg (Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase)
I was a little bit surprised with how easily he won over Christmas but we always thought he’d be a better chaser than hurdler. He seemed to love the drop back to two miles on good ground. He’s been in good form since and goes to Leopardstown with a favourite’s chance. He’d be fine on yielding ground but seems to love good ground.
Sir Erec (Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle)
He jumped well enough at Leopardstown but will have to jump better going forward. There was strong word for the second [Tiger Tap Tap] and Sir Erec toughed it out well. He’ll have to step forward again as it will be a more competitive race, but hopefully he’s capable of doing so.
Jessica Harrington on…
Supasundae (BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle)
He’s very stuffy and hard to get fit. In a true run race I think he’ll run very well in the Irish Champion Hurdle, which he won last year. Looking ahead to Cheltenham, if the ground is on the soft side he’ll go for the Champion Hurdle, but he might go back to the Stayers’ Hurdle again if the ground was good.
Henry de Bromhead on…
Chris’s Dream (Flogas Novice Chase)
He’ll either run in the Flogas at Leopardstown or a novice chase at Naas. The ground was too quick for him over Christmas. I was delighted with the way he won at Navan and he’s a nice horse.
Monalee (Unibet Irish Gold Cup)
I did always think he was an out-an-out three-miler but at this stage I’m not so sure. We’ll give three miles another go in the Irish Gold Cup and see how that goes. I think he deserves another shot at it.
Paloma Blue (Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase)
He always takes a few runs each season to come good and is an intended runner in the Irish Arkle. We’re working on his jumping all the time and his jumping is much better now. He’s working really well at home too.
Noel Meade on…
Valdieu (Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle)
I know he was beaten in a few bumpers before he won one but we always thought he was a very nice horse. He’s been victorious in his last two now and I thought he won very well at Naas. It’s a big step up into a Grade 1 but we like him and he’s improving all the time.
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