It promises to be a good day for Gordon Elliott on day one of the Cheltenham Festival as he saddles some solid-looking each-way chances as well as the ultra tough favourite Apples Jade in the Mares' Hurdle...
"I'm delighted with her this season, she is in the form of her life. Lisa O'Neill who rides her everyday is very happy with how she's been going at home and she worked fantastic when we took her away for a gallop last week."
Gordon Elliott on Apples Jade
Mengli Khan has been pleasing this season, he's a big horse who came on leaps and bounds from last term. I was happy with his last run at Punchestown after the disastrous Leopardstown incident but he is going to be under pressure to reverse that form with Getabird here.
The drier the ground the better for him, he has handled softer conditions but we'll see the best from him on good ground. He heads to Cheltenham looking and feeling a million dollars so he has a solid each-way chance.
Mick Jazz registered his first Grade 1 success at Leopardstown over Christmas, I was delighted for him as he was due his day in the sun and for his owner George Mahoney who had some back luck at last year's Festival when Mick Jazz was lame the morning of racing.
He is going to be hard pressed to beat Buveur D'air but I would be confident he can run into the placings, having said that look what happened at Leopardstown with Faugheen, you just don't know what will happen on the day and it could just go his way.
Apples Jade is an absolute superstar - I'm delighted with her this season, she is in the form of her life. Lisa O'Neill who rides her everyday is very happy with how she's been going at home and she worked fantastic when we took her away for a gallop last week.
I've said it before but this mare absolutely loves a battle and is one of the toughest horses I train, to win seven Grade 1s at this stage of her career is quite unbelievable. She obviously won this last year so is back to retain her crown and she is our best chance of a winner today.
Jury Duty has stepped up his game this season and is in serious order, I was impressed with his Punchestown win ahead of Shattered Love, a mare I think a lot of and although she has since reversed that form he didn't go down without a fight, he really battles out his finishes and is very honest. He ran very well here last year in the Pertemps behind Presenting Percy so if he handles the trip he has a really good each way chance.
Mossback was most recently seen finishing second behind Monbeg Notorious at Navan last month, he fell when looking to have every chance on his penultimate start at Naas so I was just glad to see it hadn't affected his confidence. He is a really nice sort who will enjoy the ground here, he travels over in top form and I think the booking of Lisa O'Neill will really suit him - she gets a great tune out of him at home and I'd love to get her another Festival winner!
De Plotting Shed has taken to chasing well this season and it looks like he has a nice enough mark, he is a really honest sort who always gives a good account of himself. Better ground would be more suitable but I think he will love the track and the form he's in at home all being well we will see a career best from the eight-year-old.
Tycoon Prince is a huge big horse who I have always thought plenty of, his latest start at Leopardstown was a little disappointing when he fell at the last in a race won by the classy Footpad. I'd hope the fall hasn't knocked his confidence but he's schooling well at home and looks great.
De Plotting Shed is the pick of the two here but off his best form I see no reason why Tycoon Prince can't run on into some money and the step back up in trip will suit.
Gordon's Best Chance of Day 1: Apples Jade