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Derg keeps Apple
Tree in spotlight

THE Steel Plate and Section Hurdle at Cheltenham on Thursday looked to be in safe keeping for Franchoek as he jumped the last in front seemingly still full of running.

But he was unable to fend off the late runs from front-runner Lough Derg and No Refuge, with the former scoring a gutsy victory by a neck.

Over the past three seasons, LoughDerg has played an important part in promoting the capabilities of his sire, the former French-based Apple Tree who has recently been relocated to stand at Beech Tree Stud in Somerset.

Although trained by Andre Fabre in France, the son of Bikala was a true globetrotter, taking the Europa Preis, Turf Classic Invitational and Coronation Cup. He also landed the Grand Prix de Paris on his home turf and ran third in the Arc.

Perhaps due to his unfashionable pedigree, Apple Tree has rarely covered large books since his retirement to stud in 1996 - in fact he has just five registered two-year-olds this season.

However, thanks to the likes of Lough Derg as well as Willie Mullins' high-class jumps mare Pomme Tiepy and French Grade 3 winner Oniraloin, he has emerged as a fair jumps sire.

Bred in France by Patrick Gouesnard, Lough Derg is out of Asturias, an unplaced Pistolet Bleu half-sister to French Listed winners Montfalgoux and Astronomer. This is also the immediate family of 2003 Racing Post Chase winner La Landiere.

Lough Derg is a half-brother to three winners including Saratogane (by Saratoga Springs), a dual winner over hurdles. Asturias has a four-year-oldmare by Fleetwood and a three-year-old filly by Bollin Eric.

 

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