Apple's Jade retains Christmas Hurdle crown
Apple's Jade retained her Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown on Friday with rival Faugheen crashing out of the race.
The ante-post favourite was moved into an early lead by jockey Jack Kennedy and remained their throughout as Ruby Walsh's attempt to close in on board Faugheen two flights from the finish backfired as the former Champion Hurdle winner took a heavy tumble.
That ensured a comfortable ninth top-level race win for the Gordon Elliott-trained Apple's Jade with Early Doors taking second place.
Afterwards, Elliott said: "Jack said she was brilliant today and foot perfect everywhere. He gave her a kick at the second last and she picked up changed gears and was gone again. He said she was actually a bit idle in front, but it's a good complaint to have and we're lucky to have her.
"It was unfortunate to see Faugheen falling and we don't know what would have happened, but it probably would have taken a fair one to go past her.
"She'll be entered in everything. She might come back here over two miles (in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle). In Cheltenham, she will probably go for the race I think she can win and that might be the Mares' Hurdle."
Ten-year-old Faugheen was grounded for some time, but did eventually recover from the fall and managed to walk off the course with Walsh.
Craig Smithson is a journalist with over two decades of experience at the keyboard. A life-long Middlesbrough fan, Craig has an in-depth knowledge of all football and is also a keen fan of boxing amongst other sports.