Willie Mullins' Apple's Jade gains revenge on Ivanovich Gorbatov at Aintree
Apple's Jade reversed Triumph Hurdle placings with Ivanovich Gorbatov in some style as the filly spreadeagled the opposition in the Betfred Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree.
Beaten a length and a quarter by Aidan O'Brien's runner at Cheltenham, the 3-1 turned that form on its head.
Azzuri took the field along to just before three out, but that is where Bryan Cooper asked the Willie Mullins-trained filly to go about her business.
She did not disappoint and steadily pulled clear to win by a yawning 41 lengths in the Gigginstown House Stud colours.
Azzuri stuck on gamely for third, just half a length behind Ivanovich Gorbatov.
Footpad, a stablemate of Apple's Jade, fell at the fourth-last flight. Both horse and jockey Ruby Walsh appeared to escape unscathed.
Cooper said: "I knew turning in there was not much coming from behind me. I got lovely breather into her and a nice lead. She is very good at jumping and I'd say the Triumph probably left her right for today.
"She had a long break since her run at Christmas time and I think she has improved. David Casey and Ruby Walsh had said she'd improved a bit since Cheltenham and I'd say they are dead right.
"I'd imagine the ground had a big help to her over Joseph's (O'Brien) horse to be fair, there was a nice ease in it which suited her well. She couldn't have done any better."
Mullins said: "I could not dream of anything like that. I was hoping to win and that the ground might not suit the favourite but suit us.
"That was extraordinary the performance she put in there. I thought Bryan was mad going on before he turned in, you could see him letting her slip into the lead and I thought 'this straight is far too long with hurdles to jump, keep a little bit up your tank', but when he got off her he said he still had plenty left in the tank.
"Who knows where she will go after that, that was only the fourth or fifth run of her life as she never ran on the Flat or anything like that.
"I think she had been placed in France. We thought she was a nice mare that might work into a Triumph Hurdle mare. You are always hoping they might win a Listed or a Graded race, or maybe a Grade One, but that performance brings her into a different league.
"Next year it's a tough year for five-year-olds when they put in performances like that."
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