SportRacing

Apple's Jade romps home to win Mares' Hurdle at Punchestown

Apple's Jade and Bryan Cooper clear the last on the way to victory
Apple's Jade and Bryan Cooper clear the last on the way to victory

Apple's Jade ran out a wide-margin winner of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown.

Winner of Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse and the Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham, the Gigginstown House Stud-owned five-year-old was the even-money favourite to provide trainer Gordon Elliott with a much-needed victory in his battle for the trainers' title with Willie Mullins.

Airlie Beach, one of four Mullins representatives in a seven-strong field, adopted her customary pacesetting role under Danny Mullins, with Apple's Jade always her closest pursuer in the hands of Bryan Cooper.

That pair were joined by Karalee on the run to the second-last and were the only three horses in contention rounding the home turn.

Apple's Jade quickly stamped her authority on the Grade One contest, and swept to the front after the final flight to seal an impressive 14-length success.

Airlie Beach boxed on admirably for second ahead of stablemate Karalee in third.

Mullins also had the respective fourth and fifth home, Whiteout and Augusta Kate.

Cooper said: "She did it very well. I was a little worried turning out of the back as she hit a flat spot. She's probably getting a bit better and racing a bit lazier.

"She stuck her head out and it's only when she got upsides she started racing."