Apple's Jade Mares Novice Hurdle
Gordon Elliott struggles to contain his enthusiasm for Brighterdaysahead, calling her “a proper mare.

Gordon Elliott struggles to contain his enthusiasm for Brighterdaysahead, calling her “a proper mare.

The unbeaten mare looks to have a huge future ahead and is now no bigger than 3-1 for the Ryanair Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham next month after making it five from five in emphatic fashion, scoring by a dozen lengths under Jack Kennedy. The Listed Apple’s Jade Mares Novice Hurdle was the scene for her latest success and she certainly looks to be the best mare Gigginstown have owned and Gordon Elliott has trained since the fabulous lady the race was named after.

The smile on Elliott’s face afterwards said more than any words ever could, but the words weren’t bad either. “I do think she’s a proper mare,” he beamed.

“She’s very, very good, and I don’t say that about too many. She’s got a pedigree to be nice and her future is in front of her.

“She looks like a chaser, but the plan now is obviously the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. Limerick at Christmas being one such moment as he folded tamely and couldn’t land a glove on Gaelic Warrior.

The real American Mike, the one who beat Fact To File in a beginners’ chase at the track back in November, showed up for the William Hill Ten Up Novice Chase, though, and fended off Nick Rockett under a classy Kennedy ride to land the Grade 2. He is entered in the Turners Novices’ Chase next month, and was cut to 12-1 (from 20) by Paddy Power for that, but staying looked his trump card here and it sounds like the BoyleSports Irish Grand National might be on his agenda instead.

Elliott said: “I’m not joking you, he leaves me scratching my head more than any other horse in the yard. He keeps disappointing me and then coming back.

There is obviously a big engine in there when he’s on a going day. I’m not sure whether he will go to Cheltenham or not, and for what race if he does.

He has me very confused. Noel Meade expected it too.

The winning trainer said: “I said the other day that if he was in a Group race on the Flat, I’d fancy him because he was that well in himself. “He’s still novicey for anything big, so I would have thought we’ll try and get another run into him somewhere and then tip along.”

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