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Hatton's Grace next for all-the-way Navan winner Apple's Jade

The Grade 1 Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse on December 3 is the next likely target for Apple's Jade, who made a winning return to action by making all in the four-runner Grade 2 Lismullen Hurdle.

Sent off the 8-15 favourite, the Gordon Elliott-trained five-year-old scored by two lengths under Jack Kennedy and was cut half a point to 5-2 by Paddy Power for the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, a race the five-time Grade 1 winner landed last season.

BoyleSports made her 2-1 favourite (from 3-1) for the Cheltenham event. The same firm go 16-1 for the Champion Hurdle and 12-1 for the Stayers' Hurdle.

Elliott, who also saddled Flaxen Flare to finish third, said: "We decided to keep it simple and to let her make the running. She was a bit idle and would have liked company up front, but she did the job well.

"I'd imagine she'll go back to Fairyhouse for the Hatton's Grace Hurdle, which she won last year. You'd expect her to improve from today's race."

Runner-up Jer's Girl, a dual Grade 1 winner, briefly looked a threat to the winner but was always held on the run-in. Her rider Barry Geraghty received a one-day whip ban for hitting the mare on an area other than her hindquarters or down the shoulder.

Jer's Girl finished nine and a half lengths clear of Flaxen Flare, with Monksland one and three-quarter lengths last of the four runners.

Apple's Jade was scoring for the eighth time over hurdles and the Gigginstown House Stud-owned mare has never finished worse than second in 12 attempts.

The winner was the middle-leg of a Graded-race treble for Elliott, Kennedy and Gigginstown House Stud. The trio also took the Grade 2 Fortria Chase with Clarcam and the Grade 3 For Auction Novice Hurdle with Mengli Khan.

Elliott and Gigginstown made it four wins for the day when Invincible Dave, partnered by Lisa O'Neill, made a successful debut under rules in the bumper.

 

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