Apple’s Jade is set to follow a familiar path by making her seasonal reappearance in the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan on Sunday.
Gordon Elliott’s brilliant mare won the two-and-a-half-mile Grade 2 last season before successfully defending her crown in the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse in early December.
The Cullentra handler feels another appearance at Navan this weekend will set her up for a hat-trick bid three weeks later.
Elliott told At The Races: “She’ll work tomorrow (Wednesday) morning and all being well the plan is to run her and then go on to the Hatton’s Grace again.”
Apple’s Jade is one of three potential runners for Elliott along with De Plotting Shed and Dortmund Park.
Willie Mullins has Bapaume, Ria D’Etel and Wicklow Brave in the mix.
Eddie Harty’s high-class chaser Coney Island, Jessica Harrington’s former Champion Hurdle winner Jezki and the Henry de Bromhead-trained Identity Thief complete the 10 entries.
The tote.com Fortria Chase also promises to be a fascinating contest, with Great Field and Footpad among three Mullins contenders.
Great Field was hugely impressive in winning his first four starts over fences two seasons ago, rounding off his campaign with a Grade 1 success at the Punchestown Festival.
However, he only made it to the track once last term, winning the Webster Cup over this course and distance in March.
Stablemate Footpad was five from five over fences as a novice last season. He has a couple of weekend options having also been entered for Saturday’s Poplar Square Chase at Naas.
The champion trainer has a third entry for the Fortria in consistent mare Listen Dear.
Like Footpad, Harry Whittington’s potential British challenger Saint Calvados could run at Naas or Navan.
A Toi Phil, Arkwrisht, Ballyoisin, Doctor Phoenix, Ordinary World and Rock The World are the other Fortria contenders.
Grade Three honours are up for grabs in the For Auction Novice Hurdle.
Elliott (Felix Desjy, Make My Heart Fly and Sometime Soon) and Mullins (Aramon, Prince D’Aubrelle and Quick Grabim) have three contenders apiece.
Elliott’s high-class novice hurdler Mengli Khan could debut over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase.