Apple’s Jade back in some style

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 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.

“The only question-mark about him is heavy ground. But he’s building all the time and, if the ground stays good, there might be something for him at Leopardstown over Christmas.”

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.

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