Saturday, 18 November 2017

November Meeting: 'Highly regarded' Apple's Shakira set for big debut run

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Nicky Henderson is relishing showing off the 'excellent' Apple's Shakira, who makes her British debut in the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (12:40).

The full-sister to five-time Grade One winner Apple's Jade, won impressively on her sole outing in France.

Winning at French track Vichy by almost nine lengths despite appearing to be in second gear, her move prompted a purchase by JP McManus and now the champion trainer is relishing her first start on British soil.

"It’s very early days with the Juveniles and Gumball has looked to be the only decent one so far and appears the obvious horse in the race," Henderson told his Unibet blog.

"Everyone knows Shakira is a sister to Apple’s Jade and this one is a filly we all really like as she’s done everything we’ve asked ever since coming over from France in the summer.

"We’ve got to start somewhere and this looks a good point to get her on the track. How good she is we don’t know as I wouldn’t say she’s electric in her work but many of the good ones never are.

"That said, when you put a hurdle in front of her she is excellent and very quick and slick. I like her a lot and she should go well receiving a 7lb sex allowance."

Apple's Shakira is currently a 20-1 chance for next year's Triumph Hurdle, a market that is currently led by 12-1 shot Gumball.

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Phillip Hobbs won this contest last year with Defi Du Seuil, and hopes to win it again with Gumball

The main danger looks the already established smart hurdler Gumball, who is currently unbeaten over hurdles.

Phillip Hobbs' three-year-old has won two from two over hurdles, including a hugely impressive eight length victory in listed company at Chepstow last month.

The Somerset handler won this contest with eventual Triumph, and Aintree hero, Defi Du Seuil and is hopeful to have another superstar hurdler on his hands.

"He has been in very good form since Chepstow and I hope he runs well," Hobbs told the Racing Post.

Speedo Bay was behind him that day, but has subsequently won at Huntingdon since.

The likes of Eh Georges, Apparition and Eragon De Chanay also take their chance in the Grade Two contest.

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