Gordon Elliott has 'every confidence' ahead of the clash of Cheltenham Festival winners Apple's Jade and Nichols Canyon in the Hatton Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
The five-year-old won this by a short head in this contest last year, before her memorable victory in the Mares Hurdle back in March.
Also a winner of the Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown in her campaign last year, she made a brilliant return when winning by two lengths at Navan.
“Apples Jade is back to defend her crown, having won this race by a short head from Vroum Vroum Mag last year,” Elliott told his Betfair blog.
“She ran a blinder last month to win the Grade 2 Lismullen Hurdle at Navan on what was her first run of the season and she came out of that in great order.
“Her main danger today is Nichols Canyon who obviously benefits from having much more experience.
“But Apples Jade is a seriously good mare and, with her 7lb allowance today, I have every confidence in her again for a big run.”
She is currently priced at 3/1 to reclaim her Mares Hurdle crown at Cheltenham in 2018.
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Willie Mullins' Nichols Canyon has won eight times at Grade One level
Stayer's Hurdle winner Nichols Canyon is the obvious danger in the field of seven. Willie Mullins' star won by just under a length in the Cotswold before finishing second to Unowhatimeanharry on home soil.
Coral Cup winner Supasundae went within a length of a Grade One win on his last start at Aintree for Jessica Harrington.
Cilaos Emery, Mick Jazz, Swamp Fox and Augusta Kate also run.