Apple’s Shakira jumps to favouritism for the Triumph

 In Lambourn News

Apple’s Shakira put up a huge performance when winning the opening Grade 2 juvenile hurdle at Cheltenham by 16l on Saturday.

A sister to five-time Grade One-winning mare Apple’s Jade, the JP McManus-owned filly looks something special.

Philip Hobbs’ runner, Gumball, had won his two previous races, but he had no answer to Nicky Henderson’s three-year-old, who is now clear favourite for the Triumph Hurdle at the Festival after winning by 17 lengths under Barry Geraghty.

Geraghty said: “You could only be impressed, she was very good. She was learning as she went and the way she went to the line she could have gone a bit further. She has a great attitude and you could only love her. She’s very talented.”

Henderson said: “Barry has adored her from the first moment, she is funny though, as she shows nothing at home. But she does jump, Barry schooled her once and said ‘this is the fastest thing I’ve sat on as a three-year-old’.”

“She’s not big, but has a lovely temperament and that was only the second race of her life. She has lots to learn, is still green but jumps like a big horse.”

“That ground is soft, which she enjoyed, as she’d not want it too fast. I suppose the Triumph Hurdle is where she’ll finish off, but she won’t be hiding in her stable.”

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