Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 16 December 2018

Apple's and Laurina on track for duel

Laurina missed her intended comeback at Ascot last weekend as Mullins felt the ground would be too quick for her. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Laurina missed her intended comeback at Ascot last weekend as Mullins felt the ground would be too quick for her. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Two star mares of the top two trainers in the country headline the Fairyhouse feature on Sunday as Gordon Elliott's Apple's Jade and the Willie Mullins-trained Laurina are set for a showdown in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle.

Apple's Jade beat the boys in the baroneracing .com-sponsored Grade One 12 months ago and has had a repeat on her schedule after making a stylish winning reappearance in the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan.

Elliott has also left in Samcro - due to head to Newcastle for Saturday's Fighting Fifth Hurdle - Dortmund Park, Tombstone, Sutton Place and last season's Triumph Hurdle hero Farclas.

Laurina missed her intended comeback at Ascot last weekend as Mullins felt the ground would be too quick for her and she is one of eight possibles for the champion trainer.

Fellow mares Benie Des Dieux and Limini are in the mix along with Champion Hurdle runner-up Melon, which missed the Morgiana Hurdle earlier this month.

The only two horses not trained by either Elliott of Mullins are the top-class Supasundae from Jessica Harrington's yard and Joseph O'Brien's Early Doors.

Elliott's Cheltenham winners Delta Work and Blow By Blow are among 13 to stand their ground in the Drinmore Novice Chase.

Mullins has Cadmium left in the contest while Discorama, second to Blow By Blow at Cheltenham, represents Paul Nolan. Harrington's Jetz, the O'Brien-trained Le Richebourg, Henry de Bromhead's Mind's Eye and Colin Kidd's Rashaan are others in the mix.

In the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle, Mullins is responsible for eight of the 15 possibles. Aramon, Prince D'Aubrelle, Sancta Simona and Royal Rendezvous are among the Closutton army.

Elliott's Commander Of Fleet is unbeaten in his two outings while Noel Meade's Brace Yourself and O'Brien's Triplicate are also engaged.

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