In the run-up to this afternoon's Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown, Gordon Elliott was nonchalant enough in terms of his decision to throw star performer Apple's Jade into the 2m showpiece event at Dublin Racing Festival.
The Gigginstown supremo shook off concerns about the mare's drop to the minimum distance with a shrug of the shoulders and a, 'sure what's there to lose'. And he wasn't far wrong.
Still available at even money as late as this morning, the 7-year-old returned to the scene of her Christmas Hurdle success and simply blew away all competition.
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) February 2, 2019
Having gone off at 8/11, she was never troubled, leading from start to finish under Jack Kennedy, becoming the first mare in 14 years to claim victory in the race and a prize of almost €100,000.
The superstar finished a full sixteen lengths clear of second-favourite Supersundae, in turn five clear of Jade's stable-mate Petit Mouchoir, who was able to just about hold Melon off to claim third.
Unsurprisingly, Apple's Jade's oddS to follow up with a victory in the Champion Hurdle a Cheltenham have been well and truly decimated, following her commanding showing at Foxrock.
A price of 10/1 could be fetched before this afternoon's victory, but she's now as low as 7/4 for the March 12th spectacular, with Elliott indicating that she would be more than fit for Prestbury Park should she come through today's trial.
Should she indeed line out on the opening day of the March meet, it will result in a showdown with hat-trick seeking Beuver D'air. The Nicky Henderson trained gelding was also in the winning enclosure this afternoon, having picked up the Contenders Hurdle at Sandown.
But Henderson and Barry Geraghty will now, undoubtedly, have more on their plate emulate legends such as Hatton's Grace, Sir Ken and See You Then in claiming three Champion Hurdle victories on the trot. The 7-year-old, only held off Melon by a neck when odds-on in last year's clash.