By Marcus Townend for MailOnline
Published: 19:07 GMT, 2 February 2019 | Updated: 19:09 GMT, 2 February 2019
Apple's Jade is still highly unlikely to run in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival despite slaughtering the opposition in the Irish equivalent on Saturday.
The Gordon Elliott-trained mare is as short as 2-1 second favourite for the feature race on the opening day of the Festival on March 12 after she strolled home 16 lengths clear of 2018 winner Supasundae.
It was a fourth win of the season for the versatile eight-year-old and 10th career grade one success as she became the first mare to win the BHP Insurance Irish Champion since Like-A-Butterfly in 2003.
Apple's Jade strolled to victory in the Irish Champion Hurdle on Saturday
She looks the most potent threat around to dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air, who in his final Festival prep-race as he routinely dismissed modest opposition to win the Contenders Hurdle for the third time at Sandown.
But despite Elliott saying all options will be left open, the mare's owner, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary and his brother Eddie, are adamant nothing will sway them from their plan to win the OLBG Mares' Hurdle, a grade one contest which Apple's