Six year old Apples Jade has firmly established herself as one of the toughest horses in training following her continued success at the top level. The mare has now won 10 of her 14 starts with 4 seconds – a remarkable record for any horse; which is why the betting tips from Betfair for Cheltenham have her as a banker. The latest Cheltenham festival 2018 odds have her at 8/11 to regain her Mares’ Hurdle crown again in 2018.
The Gordan Elliot trained and Gigginstown owned wonder mare now has career earnings of over £460,000, meaning she really is a superstar. She reached three miles for the first time in her career in the Leopardstown Christmas hurdle and was sent off at short odds of 4/6. She looked beat up the run in when headed by Supasundae, but battled back to win by half a length. This victory epitomised what she is all about; all heart and as tough as they come with a will to win.
Comparing her to past mares is troublesome as it is difficult to know the level of opposition they are facing, but two who will forever be remembered are Dawn Run and Quevega. Dawn Run must go down as the greatest as she is the only one to have won both the Champion hurdle and Gold cup, which is an incredible achievement in itself. Her legacy was further backed up in the fact she was victorious in the English, Irish and French Champion hurdles. Both Dawn Run and Apple’s Jade have similarities in their will to win and battling styles, however Apples has a long way to go if she is to emulate the legend Dawn Run.
Quevega on the other hand is a star of more recent times, and will always be remembered for her incredible record at the Cheltenham festival. Sired by Robin des Champs, Quevega was trained in Ireland by Willie Mullins after being bought out of France. She quickly became a household name at the festival as well as writing her name in Cheltenham folk law. Between the years of 2009 and 2014 Quevega dominated the Mares’ Hurdle, winning it six times and surpassing Golden Miller’s five consecutive Gold cups in the 1930’s. This is an incredible achievement of a horse just to make it back to the festival on six occasions and it will take some horse to surpass this record in the future.
Quevega and Apples are dominant in their respective eras, but both are limited to showing their true abilities after not being seen often enough against the males. There is no doubting however that they are both champions in their own rights. Apples is now likely to be victorious at the mare’s hurdle in the coming months and earn her second title. If she continues to maintain her form, could she possibly be the one to surpass the record set by the mighty Quevega.
(APPLE’S JADE FOLLOWING HER 2017 MARES’ HURDLE VICTORY)