Apple’s Jade has been given the all clear to tackle the Grade 1 Betway Aintree Hurdle, setting up the possibility of a mouth-watering clash with Champion Hurdle hero Buveur D’Air.
Gordon Elliott’s OLBG Mares’ Hurdle winner has been installed a general 7-2 third favourite for the 2m4f contest, with JP McManus-owned duo Buveur D’Air and Yanworth heading the market at 11-10 and 11-4 respectively.
Apple’s Jade outstayed the Willie Mullins duo of Limini and Vroum Vroum Mag in the feature mares’ event of the Cheltenham Festival and connections have reported that she has come out of that race in great form.
Gigginstown boss Eddie O’Leary said: “The race at Cheltenham had everything and I really think it was one of the races of the week – the first three home are three top-class mares.
“We will take in the two and a half mile race at Aintree next. She has come out of Cheltenham in good form and if she were to run well at Aintree, we could think about Punchestown as well for her.”
Yanworth, who proved so bitterly disappointing in the Champion Hurdle, is expected to be suited by the extra four furlongs if he does show up at Aintree, which would almost certainly be his last appearance before going novice chasing next term.
The highlight on the opening day of Aintree’s three-day Grand National meeting could also feature Camping Ground, a brilliant 29-length winner of the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell. His trainer Gary Moore opted to swerve Cheltenham and wait for this contest, and his charge will probably go off much shorter than the 10-1 currently available if Yanworth doesn’t turn up.
Another Cheltenham Festival winner that could light up the opening day is Defi Du Seuil (best odds 8-13) who will surely take some stopping in his bid to complete a Grade 1 double if he turns up for the Aintree 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle.
The Grade 1 Liverpool Hurdle on Grand National day could be a race to savour if the first three home in the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle all take their chance.
Unowhatimeanharry (5-2) was a vanquished favourite at Prestbury Park but bookmakers clearly think that Harry Fry’s stable star can turn the tables on the Willie Mullins-trained winner Nichols Canyon (10-3) and Lil Rockerfeller (6-1) on this flatter track.
Cole Harden (10-1) would be well served by drying ground at Aintree but he’s got ground to make up on the principals.