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The Lismullen Hurdle takes place at Navan this afternoon and one classy mare makes her seasonal reappearance.

Connections of APPLE'S JADE will be hoping the mare can really stamp her mark this season and make an impact when she faces the top-class geldings later in the season. Gordon Elliot's charge tops BTO+ ratings by a wide margin and she's well capable of surpassing her official rating of 154 this term. After an impressive juvenile campaign, the five year old daughter of Saddler Maker continued her progress last term when switching to Elliot's yard from Willie Mullins. Apple's Jade was a fine neck winner of the Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse, beating Mullins' Vroom Vroom Mag, before she was surprisingly beaten by Limini three weeks before the Cheltenham Festival at Punchestown.

Nonetheless, Elliot shrewdly ensured his mare was primed for Prestbury Park and rallied gallantly to clinch the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at the Festival by one and a half lengths from Vroom Vroom Mag and Limini. Apple's Jade signed off the last term with a barnstorming 14 length victory in the Mares Champion Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival and the mare was barely touched by Bryan Cooper on that occasion. Apple's Jade shows her true class in the spring, so Elliot will hoping to prime his mare for later in the season. Nonetheless, a win this afternoon would prove highly useful and today's jockey, Will Kennedy, shows a 70% better than expected win rate at Navan.

Connections of JER'S GIRL will be hoping she can get her career back on track. Gavin Cromwell's charge really came into her own at the end of her novice hurdle season, winning a Grade One mares' hurdle at Fairyhouse before following up with a 10-length cruise in the Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle against the geldings. Nonetheless, Jer's Girl failed to land herself in the winners' enclosure last season and fell in the Mares' Hurdle at the Festival. Meanwhile, the five year old daughter of Jeremy could only finish fourth in the Istabraq Hurdle at Tipperary on her seasonal reappearance last month. To her credit, the two-mile trip was likely too sharp for Jer's Girl and she should enjoy today's extra test in stamina. Barry Geraghty takes the reins and he brags a 65% better than expected strike rate when riding for Cromwell.

MONKSLAND has always threatened to be a high-class hurdler but has struggled for cast-iron consistency. The son of Beneficial has been rated as highly as 157 in the past but know runs off a mark 10 pounds lower. Throughout his career, Monksland has displayed glimpses of ability and won the Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown a few years ago. The 10 year old also comes into today's affair on the back of a win after scoring at Thurles last month. Monksland faces much stiffer competition this afternoon but jockey Sean Flanagan boasts a 75% better than expected win rate over the course and distance.

Elliot is throwing DUCA DE THAIX into the deep end. The four year old son of Voix Du Nord is highly inexperienced having had only three starts in France before moving to Ireland. Duca De Thaix finished an eight-length fourth on his debut for his new yard in the Fishery Lane Hurdle only yesterday and it's highly likely he will make an impact if he does run.

The County Meath handler also saddles FLAXEN FLARE. After a lengthy spell of the track, the eight year old is starting to find his form again and was forth to Plinth at Killarney in May. However, Flaxen Flare may need the run this afternoon and the betting suggests he could struggle.

Article Posted on Sunday 12th November 2017 @ 07.31

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