Limini: will make her seasonal reappearance in the Quevega Mares Hurdle
PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Apple’s Jade and Limini clash in a race named after Cheltenham record-breaker Quevega as they prepare for the festival next month.
A three-time Grade 1 winner, Apple’s Jade achieved the most recent of her top-level wins at Fairyhouse in December when she edged out Vroum Vroum Mag in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle over Wednesday’s trip.
She is entered for the Stan James Champion Hurdle, the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle and the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle, with the last named of those Grade 1 events, for which she is as short as 6-4 favourite, the preferred target.
Trainer Gordon Elliott said: “Apple’s Jade is in great form having had a break after her Fairyhouse win. We’re very happy with her and, while I’d imagine she will come on for the race, we’re looking forward to a big run.”
It was in the same race a year ago that Annie Power made a winning return after a long absence and put herself in line for her successful Champion Hurdle attempt.
Her trainer Willie Mullins gives Limini, generally a 4-1 shot for the Mares’ Hurdle at the festival, her first start of the season in the race and acknowledges that the six-year-old has plenty to do, meeting Apple’s Jade, who is rated 8lb higher, on level terms.
Mullins said: “Limini is in good order for her return to action but she’s facing a tough task at the weights, so we’ll just have to see how she fares.”
Mullins is also represented by Whiteout, who achieved her biggest win when defeating Limini in a 2m2f Grade 1 mares’ event at the Punchestown festival last season.
“Whiteout has had a couple of runs this winter so she has match fitness on her side,” Mullins said. “She’s shown that she acts well on the track but she too will have it all to do having to give 2lb to Apple’s Jade.”
The six-runner line-up also includes the Jessica Harrington-trained Rock On The Moor, who is reverting to hurdles after two runs over fences.
Last season the nine-year-old finished runner-up to Vroum Vroum Mag in the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, and she will run in the race again.
Harrington said: “She got a bad cut when she ran over fences at Warwick early in December. She’s going to Cheltenham for the same race she ran so well in last year and we need to get a run into her back over hurdles. She’s in good form.”
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