Wednesday 22 November 2017

O'Leary to have strong line-up

Jockey Bryan Cooper celebrates after Apple’s Jade won the OLBG Mares Hurdle Race at Cheltenham. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
Jockey Bryan Cooper celebrates after Apple’s Jade won the OLBG Mares Hurdle Race at Cheltenham. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM

Cheltenham Festival winner Apple's Jade will spearhead the Gigginstown House Stud entries at the Punchestown Festival next week, with Ireland's champion owner set to have a strong team over the five days.

A drop back to two-miles is unlikely for Apple's Jade, who came out on top of a Willie Mullins/Rich Ricci sandwich of Limini and Vroum Vroum Mag in the Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham, and she may well remain against the mares next week, according to Eddie O'Leary.

"We were delighted with Cheltenham and touch wood she's done well since then. I don't think she'll be running in the Betdaq Champion Hurdle over two miles - she'll either go for the three-miler or the mares' race and we'll decide in the next few days."

Death Duty went into the Cheltenham Festival as one of the Irish bankers but was well beaten and never going to win the Albert Bartlett. But he could be the forgotten horse of the week as his trainer Gordon Elliott will be hoping to snare a Grade One in his pursuit of the Irish trainers' championship.

Death Duty is set to lock horns with Albert Bartlett winner Penhill and the Pertemps Hurdle winner Presenting Percy in what could be a fascinating race.

"We hopefully found a reason for Death Duty's disappointing run at Cheltenham and if he's OK he'll run at Punchestown," said O'Leary.

"He looked very good before that run at Cheltenham but just didn't travel at all in the race. We hope he's an exciting horse and we all believe he's a three-miler so he'd most likely go for the novice hurdle on the second day of the Punchestown Festival."

Both Outlander and Sub Lieutenant could line up in the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup, while Tell Us More will drop back in trip for the BoyleSports Champion Chase on Tuesday.

Having beaten Irish Grand National winner Our Duke back in February, Noel Meade's Disko is also set to line up on Tuesday in the Growise Novice Chase.

"It just didn't happen for him at Cheltenham, he was never travelling in the race.

"We hope he's a bit better than he showed there but he would need to be."

Gigginstown have a policy of avoiding Cheltenham with their bumper horses but the exciting Poli Roi is on course for Wednesday's Champion Bumper and Samcro will be left in the race this afternoon.

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