Thursday 27 April 2017

Apple's Jade looks ripe for feature prize

Trainer Willie Mullins: former horse honoured. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Trainer Willie Mullins: former horse honoured. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

There were moans when Limini was scratched from Gowran last Saturday but her presence lights up today's Punchestown offering instead.

In tackling Apple's Jade, her one-time stable ally, in a featured Quevega Mares Hurdle that honours another ex-Willie Mullins horse, Limini renders a forgettable card anything but. Having said that, it is difficult to see her beating Apple's Jade on this occasion.

Limini has to prove she gets the trip, has not run since last April and faces a rival which has been a revelation since the Cheltenham Festival last season. She is a little unfortunate not to have won two Grade Ones against geldings as a four-year-old mare this term.

Limini will quite possibly book her place in the Dawn Run Mares Novice Hurdle at the Festival if she wins - as her stamina will be proven - and this may have implications for Vroum Vroum Mag's itinerary. If Limini fails to get home, she could be rerouted.

This is worth noting with a view to an ante-post wager on Cheltenham, possibly involving Vroum Vroum Mag.

Irish National-winning trainer Tom Gibney has a good chance of taking the first race with Agent Boru, which might have a shade too much stamina for Knockmaole Boy, though there is not much between them on form.

The layers may be bullish about getting Castello Sforza beaten but he is worth another chance in the EBF-restricted maiden hurdle: it is not as though he has been beaten by modest horses despite being a short price both seasonal starts.

The solid Rock On Barney gets the nap vote in the first handicap hurdle. The race was not run to suit him at Clonmel on Thursday and he is improving with racing. Mikey Fogarty resumes his alliance.

It was a bit underwhelming that Freeway Space failed to win a bumper. The positive of this is that she gets weight off her principal foes in the mares' maiden hurdle and today should be the day under Paul Townend.

Perfect Man's trainer, Borrisoleigh-based Paddy Hurley, ended an exhausting spell out of the winner's circle last week. His prospects of scoring in the staying handicap hurdle are solid but preference is for Dawn Raider, for which the trip looks perfect.

Guesswork abounds in the finale, yet Remastered takes the eye on paper. He is by Network, which had a Graded double at Navan on Sunday, and it is no surprise that Liz Doyle procured the four-year-old.

The dam won in France and is notably a sister to Le Vent D'Antan, one of the most talented horses the trainer - daughter of former politician Avril - has trained.

Irish Independent

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