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Monday, 19 November, 2018

Cooper hails spring sensation Apple's Jade as she lands fifth Grade 1

Punching the air: Bryan Cooper celebrates following Apple's Jade's triumph in the Grade 1 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Champion Hurdle
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Daffodils turn yellow, clocks go forward an hour and Apple's Jade turns into a monster. These are all things sure to happen in spring.

Apple's Jade might take her time to warm up each season, but when she does bloom, boy does she come alive.

She won at Aintree in April 2016 by 41 lengths, demolished Let's Dance at Punchestown this time last year and lowered the colours of Limini and Vroum Vroum Mag in the Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham last month.

Add a 14-length annihilation in another Grade 1 to that list now. Apple's Jade is simply a spring sensation.

This latest triumph was achieved in typically straightforward fashion. Never too far off the pace, she was sent for home by Bryan Cooper after the second-last and nothing got near her.

The victory gave Gordon Elliott some hope he might catch Willie Mullins in the Irish trainers' title race, but that was to prove only fleeting.

This was a fifth Grade 1 success for Apple's Jade, and Cooper hailed the mighty mare.

"She came here in great form and she couldn't have done that any better," he said. 

"I was keen not to get caught in behind horses so I kicked on. I knew she'd stay well. I see no reason why she would not develop into a Stayers' Hurdle contender next season, but she deserves a big, long break now."

Elliott said: "She's a very good mare and that was a great performance. I doubt she'll jump fences next year and the Mares' Hurdle or the Stayers' are possible targets for her."

Paddy Power cut Apple's Jade into 3-1 (from 5) for the 2018 OLBG Mares' Hurdle, while BoyleSports went 8-1 (from 10) for the Stayers' Hurdle. BoyleSports also offered 10-1 (from 16) about her for the Stan James Champion Hurdle. 

Whatever her target, Apple's Jade is certainly versatile and following her progress next season will be fascinating – especially when spring rolls around.

Mares' Champion Hurdle result

I see no reason why she would not develop into a Stayers' Hurdle contender next season but she deserves a big, long break now

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