Two and a half miles for Apple’s

Apple's Jade is set to step up in distance following her agonising defeat in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on Saturday.

Apple's Jade: Up in trip 'definitely the way to go'.

The four-year-old was one of the most visually impressive winners of last season when scoring at Aintree and having followed up in dominant fashion at Punchestown, she headed into the new campaign as a viable contender for the Champion Hurdle.

However, the former Willie Mullins inmate suffered a shock defeat on her first start for Gordon Elliott in the WKD Hurdle at Down Royal and although connections were initially keen to go further right away, she was given another chance over two miles in more testing conditions at Gosforth Park.

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The heavily-backed favourite did not travel with great fluency, but got rolling after the final flight and was eventually beaten just a nose by previous winner Irving.

Owners Gigginstown House Stud were left rueing their luck after Apple's Jade was hampered by the fall of their other runner, Petit Mouchoir, who was still travelling powerfully when coming to grief three flights from the finish.

Gigginstown's manager, Eddie O'Leary, said: "I was very happy with Petit Mouchoir, who was running a huge race when he came down and his fall probably cost her (Apple's Jade) the race.

"Petit Mouchoir hadn't even started racing and Bryan (Cooper) was very happy with him up until then. Hopefully he's okay. He seemed fine after it, touch wood.

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"I think Apple's Jade wants two-and-a-half (miles). That's definitely the way we'll go with her. Petit Mouchoir will stick to two miles and we'll see where we go."

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