Quevega Mares Hurdle
Listed, Punchestown 14:25
€32,500 added,
4yo plus, 2m 4f,
Class 1    
Wednesday 22nd February 2017


1 Limini 3/1
2 Apple's Jade 2/5F
3 Rock On The Moor 14/1
6 ran
Winning time: 5m 14.80s (slow by 34.80s)

Limini makes winning return in Quevega Mares Hurdle

© Caroline Norris
Nichols Canyon

Willie Mullins left the door slightly ajar for Limini to run in the Champion Hurdle at next month's Cheltenham Festival following an impressive comeback victory at Punchestown.

Winner of the inaugural Trull House Stud Mares Novices' Hurdle at Prestbury Park last March, the six-year-old appeared to have plenty on her plate for her belated seasonal reappearance, with former stablemate Apple's Jade setting the standard, having beaten Vroum Vroum Mag in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

The Gordon Elliott-trained Apple's Jade was the 2/5 favourite under Bryan Cooper and travelled well at the head of affairs for much of the Quevega Mares Hurdle.

However, Ruby Walsh edged 3/1 chance Limini closer from the home turn and she showed the superior turn of foot from the final flight to prevail by two lengths.

Mullins said: "I don't know what way to take that run, but Apple's Jade is a triple Grade One-winning mare and Ruby never even stirred on our mare - he just gave her a shake-up going to the last.

"Unless there's something really wrong with Apple's Jade, it looks a tremendous performance.

"Our mare was coming back after a year off and we've had our troubles trying to get her right.

"Apple's Jade had had three runs. The race conditions didn't suit us and the ground didn't suit us, so we came here thinking it was all in Apple's Jade's favour.

"She (Limini) has run a stone better than I thought she would."

Limini was promoted to around 7/4 favouritism for the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham, ahead of last year's winner Vroum Vroum Mag and Apple's Jade.

However, Annie Power was supplemented for, and won, the Champion Hurdle after winning the same Punchestown contest 12 months ago.

As is his wont, Mullins was ruling nothing in or out.

He said: "Nothing is ever set in stone - this is me you're talking to!

"We were aiming for the Mares' Hurdle, this might open up other options.

"I was going to run the two of them (Limini and Vroum Vroum Mag) in the Mares' Hurdle, but I didn't know whether Limini was going to come back to form or not.

"It looks like she's come back in better form."

Asked whether Limini could be supplemented for the Champion Hurdle, for which she is a general 8/1 shot, the trainer added: "I don't know. On the face of it, it looked a huge performance.

"Vroum Vroum Mag is in everything. She did her first bit of work since she ran in Doncaster on Tuesday and I was pleased enough with that.

"Her Doncaster win wouldn't be good enough to go anywhere, but she's coming back to herself."

Sky Bet cut Limini to 2/1 for the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at the Festival, a price which makes her favourite from Vroum Vroum Mag and Apple's Jade, both of whom are out to 9/4.

Spokesman Michael Shinners said: "Apple's Jade and Vroum Vroum Mag both have other options and Limini now looks the one to beat in the mares' event - should connections go the obvious route.

"There had already been money for her, ever since we went non-runner, no bet, and she's now halved in price again from 4/1 this morning."


Quevega Mares Hurdle (Listed)
€32,500 added, 4yo plus, 2m 4f, Class 1
6 ran
Going: Heavy

Pos D Horse SP Jockey Weight Trainer Age
1st Limini (IRE) 3/1 R Walsh
W P Mullins 6
2nd 2 Apple's Jade (FR) 2/5f B J Cooper
G Elliott 5
3rd 14 Rock On The Moor (IRE) 14/1 R M Power
Mrs J Harrington 9
4th 12 Emcon (IRE) 50/1 J W Kennedy
W J Austin 8
5th 41 Jennys Melody (IRE) 66/1 D J Mullins
B Arthey 8
F Whiteout (GER) 14/1 P Townend
W P Mullins 6

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