Top mares to clash at Punchestown

Apple's Jade and Limini engage in what promises to be a fascinating and informative clash in the Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown on Wednesday.

Apple's Jade takes on Limini at Punchestown

Apple's Jade looked a potential superstar when destroying her rivals at Aintree last spring when trained by Willie Mullins.

The five-year-old was one of the more high-profile horses to leave Closutton during the off-season following a well-publicised split between the champion trainer and Gigginstown House Stud and she was beaten on her debut for Gordon Elliott at Down Royal.

However, she bounced back when seeing off former stable companion Vroum Vroum Mag in the Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse in December and has since being given a break in readiness for a spring campaign and a tilt at the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at next month's Cheltenham Festival.

Elliott said: "I was disappointed not to see Limini declared for the Red Mills Hurdle in Gowran last weekend, but there's always going to be one.

"She (Apple's Jade) will definitely improve (for the run) and the Mares' Hurdle is definitely the plan."

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The Mullins-trained Limini is already a Festival victor, having landed the inaugural Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle at Prestbury Park last March.

The French import was not disgraced when finishing third behind the Champion Hurdle-bound pair of Buveur D'Air and Petit Mouchoir on her next start at Aintree, before finding stablemate Whiteout too strong at Punchestown.

Limini makes her seasonal reappearance in this Listed contest, with Whiteout also declared by Mullins.

Patrick Mullins, assistant to his father, said: "Limini is in good form, but I'm sure she'll come on a lot for the run.

"She's had no issues and has been in training plenty long enough.

"She's wrong at the weights with Apple's Jade and it will be very difficult to beat her, but we've got to start somewhere and we'll see how she goes.

"Whiteout beat Limini in Punchestown and has a habit of winning when she's the second string.

"Hopefully she'll pick up some prize-money and continue to pay her way."

Emcon, Jennys Melody and Rock On The Moor complete the six-strong field.

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