Thursday 20 June 2019

Expect Jade to being her top-level tally up to nine

PRIMED: Cuneo can deliver with Rachael Blackmore on board. Photo: Racing Post
PRIMED: Cuneo can deliver with Rachael Blackmore on board. Photo: Racing Post

In a week of massive upsets so far, it might be wrong to deem the Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle a match between Apple's Jade and Faugheen, but it would look to be a shoot-out between the pair who have amassed 17 Grade One races between them.

Eight of those top-level victories have gone the way of APPLE'S JADE (1.50 Leopardstown), but a repeat of her Hatton's Grace success at the beginning of this month should see her equal Faugheen's haul.

There can be no getting away from Faugheen's win at the Punchestown Festival when he annihilated the field on his first tilt at three miles in open company and although he was a beaten favourite in the Morgiana Hurdle last month, the extra distance looks to be all the difference to him at this stage of his career.

It is hard to make much of a case for the remainder of the field, but the top two could serve up a brilliant race and the 7lb mares allowance can just help swing it in the favour of Apple's Jade.

Gigginstown have had a quiet enough opening couple of days at Leopardstown, but that could change here today.


Rachael Blackmore can get off the mark for the week on CUNEO (12.45 Leopardstown) in the Pertemps Qualifer.

This is another wide open handicap at the Foxrock track, but the six-year-old might appreciate slotting into handicap company having just failed to open his account in a maiden.


Henry de Bromhead clearly has his team in fine fettle at the moment and with just 10st7lb on his back and stepping up in trip, Cuneo could be tailor-made for this type of race.

Jack Kennedy will don the Gigginstown colours in the following Ballymaloe Foods Beginners Chase to ride GUN DIGGER (1.20 Leopardstown).

This one is trained by Gordon Elliott and has kept good company in beginners chases so far this season and this looks a slightly easier assignment, although it does feature Grade One-winning hurdlers Bacardys and Tower Bridge, but they have failed to make a mark over fences yet.

Kennedy's older brothers Michael and Paddy might be able to combine to make it a memorable day for the family with SMITHSCORNER (2.25 Leopardstown).


The seven-year-old is a consistent sort who has crept up a few pounds for being placed but ran well again at Punchestown last time to suggest that he can win again at this level.

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