Apple’s Jade heads 12 entries for the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle on the first day of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown on February 2.
Gordon Elliott’s mare has added a further two Grade Ones to her bulging C.V. already this season, scoring over three miles in the Christmas Hurdle on her most recent start.
Elliott has also entered last season’s Triumph Hurdle winner Farclas, Tombstone and Samcro, although news emerged yesterday that the latter is unlikely to be seen out before Punchestown in April.
Faugheen, Laurina and Sharjah are among six Willie Mullins-trained entries.
Former champion hurdler Faugheen needs to bounce back from a heavy fall at Christmas, but his stablemates are heading there in better form.
Laurina showed she was on good terms with herself with a stroll at Sandown recently, while Sharjah has surprised even Mullins with his progress in the first half of the season.
Since winning the Galway Hurdle off top weight, he has also claimed the Morgiana Hurdle – beating Faugheen in the process – and the Ryanair Hurdle at Christmas.
Last year’s Champion Hurdle runner-up Melon, Cilaos Emery and Saldier could also represent Mullins.
Last year’s winner Supasundae and Henry de Bromhead’s Petit Mouchoir are the only other two entries.