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2019 Champion Hurdle Tips – Is Apples Jade a Serious Contender?

Apples Jade

Prior to winning the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown, the prime target for Apple’s Jade this season was to reclaim her title in the Mares’ Hurdle at the forthcoming 2019 Cheltenham Festival. Such was the impressive nature of that Irish victory that there is now serious talk of running the mare in the March Champion Hurdle. Would that be a wise decision?

It had been thought that Apple’s Jade was more of a staying type having won several times over 2m4f and also twice winning the Leopardstown Christmas Hurdle over three miles during December. Yet in reverting to two miles at the February Dublin Festival, the mare proved her ability at the shorter distance in emphatic style.

 

Has Apples Jade got a chance in the Champion Hurdle?

She can only beat her opponents on the day, but second-placed Supasundae is quite often a placed horse in races while Petit Mouchoir has reverted back to hurdles following a disappointing chasing campaign last season.

It should also be noted that Apples Jade has won just once in three attempts at Cheltenham and has a tendency to jump right at her obstacles which would be a real disadvantage against stronger opposition.

The Gordon Elliott trained mare will be receiving a 7lb allowance at the Cheltenham Festival and that may sway owner Michael O’Leary into running in the feature hurdle race. A deciding factor may be that there is only one Champion Hurdle and at 7-years-old, another opportunity may not arise. The best odds for Apples Jade to win the Champion Hurdle 2019 are 9/4 with William Hill, which is a feature of our free horse racing tips for today.

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Apples Jade vs Laurina vs Buveur D’air?

On the same day as Apple’s Jade triumphed in Ireland, Buveur D’air comfortably returned to winning ways against fairly moderate opposition following his only reversal back in December and is priced at 7/4 favourite with Bet Victor for the big event.

The Nicky Henderson horse was winning the Sandown Contenders Hurdle for the third successive season, and he will be aiming for a similar Cheltenham Champion Hurdle hat-trick. Yet his defeat by Verdana Blue at Christmas proves that the 8-year-old may now be vulnerable and could Buveur D’air be past his best.

Another mare expected to feature in the Champion Hurdle is Laurina who remains unbeaten since moving to Ireland but has also yet to be seriously tested. Priced at 4-1 with Betvictor, racing against the battle-hardened Buveur D’air will be a new experience for the 6-year-old Willie Mullins trained mare. Her ability to find extra when challenged has to be taken on trust.

It is also worth noting that Laurina has raced just once since April 2018 with the faster than normal Winter ground preventing from running until beating just other horse at Sandown earlier this year. With the heavy conditions prevalent at Cheltenham proving to be an exception from previous seasons, it may just be that Spring ground may hinder her hopes.

 

Champion Hurdle 2019 – the Verdict

With the sudden chink in the armour apparent in Buveur D’air and Laurina’s potential vulnerability on a quicker surface, it would be no surprise if Apple’s Jade was re-routed to the Champion Hurdle. That contest may be more open that was originally thought.

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