By John Ryan
Apple’s Jade completed back-to-back victories in the Grade 2 Lismullen Hurdle in Navan yesterday, making all to triumph impressively by eleven lengths from veteran Jezki.
The multiple Grade 1 winner, ridden by regular partner Jack Kennedy, dictated the pace, jumping slightly right at times, before forging clear between the last two flights.
The six-year-old delighted Gordon Elliott, who trains the mare for Gigginstown House Stud, commenting: “She was good there and you’d have to be delighted with her. She did the donkey-work, in front, and she’ll come on a bit for the run.
“She’s a different mare to her last two runs (when third in Grade 1 mares events at Cheltenham and Fairyhouse). She was dead as a maggot last spring, but she was like a bull there today.
“Jack said she jumped a little right, but she always does. We’re very happy with her and she’ll go to Fairyhosue now (for her hat-trick bid in the Grade 1 Bar One Hatton’s Grace Hurdle on December 2).”
It was case of mixed emotions for the Gigginstown team as their Grade 1 winner Identity Thief broke a leg jumping the second last and had to be put down.
Gordon Elliott completed a double for Gigginstown when Column Of Fire, runner-up in the land Rover Bumper at Punchestown, scooted clear under Lisa O’Neill to win the bumper by thirteen lengths.
“He’s a big baby and he won’t do much more this season, maybe one more run,” said Elliott. “But he’s a horse for the future.”
The Enda Bolger-trained Ballyoisin produced an even more impressive display to land the Grade 2 Thetote.com Fortria Chase, making every yard of the running and jumping exuberantly (although a little untidy at the last) to slam Ordinary World by twenty-three lengths.
Sent off at 8/13, in the absence of Doctor Phoenix, Ballyoisin was registering his first Grade 2 success and was described by his trainer as “a dream of a horse”.
Bolger explained: “He’s doing everything we’re asking of him. He seems to be in good form all the time and loves jumping – he attacks his fences.
Winning rider Barry Geraghty added: “He has a great way of going. He jumps really well and was really up for it today. He’s a horse that excels on a track like this.”
Willie Mullins captured the Grade 3 For Auction Novice Hurdle with the Paul Townend-ridden Aramon, in the colours of the Supreme Horse Racing Club as market leaders Felix Desjy (finished last) and the winner’s stable-companion Quick Grabim (finished fourth after a mistake at the third last) flopped.
Mullins admitted: “That’s a huge improvement. He showed a lot more speed than we though he had. He was very green in Lstowel, when we made too much use of him. I told Paul to get a lead all the way today. He lost an off-fore show and has a cut on his pastern, something that Quick Grabim has too. We’ll have to look at the Royal Bond (Grade 1 at Fairyhouse on December 2) now.”
J J Slevin notched his third win since returning from injury when Us And Them, trained by Joseph O’Brien, landed the beginners chase in emphatic style from Duca De Thaix.
Slevin stated: “He’s always been one of the scopiest horses in the yard and a great jumper. He came on well form his first run back. His jumping is such a big asset.”
Third in the Naas November Handicap and apparently a handicap ‘snip off a mark of 119, the Charles Byrnes-trained Wonder Laish delivered for punters in the Hotel Park St.Johann Tirol Handicap Hurdle, travelling sweetly throughout before coming clear to beat Like On Open Book comfortably by seven and a half lengths.