Jezki is as short as 3-1 for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at CheltenhamPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
McManus linked to purchase of Jezki
SPECULATION was mounting on Thursday night that Jezki, unbeaten over hurdles and 4-1 favourite for the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle, is to be bought by JP McManus.
The Jessica Harrington-trained five -year-old, who is thought to be worth in the region of €500,000, won two of the three bumpers he contested last season. He is four from four over hurdles for his breeder Gerard McGrath having followed up two wins at Naas by landing two Grade 1 events last month.
The son of Milan won the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse before adding the Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting by six lengths.
He has been beaten only twice in eight starts. He finished eighth behind Champagne Fever in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper a year ago and fifth in a 2m Flat race at Navan in October.
His brother Jenari, a four-time winner, is trained by Harrington for McManus while Jezki is a half-brother to Jered, who won seven races for Noel Meade, and also to the Harrington-trained Jetson, the winner of four races.
McManus is the leading owner at the Cheltenham Festival, having taken his score to 37 wins a year ago when his five winners included the ill-fated Synchronised's victory in the Gold Cup.
Ireland's champion owner has his sights set on a possible fifth Champion Hurdle win with Darlan and Binocular, the 2010 winner.
He had his colours carried to victory in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle on two occasions with Like-A-Butterfly, trained by Christy Roche, successful in 2002 and the Eddie Harty-trained Captain Cee Bee in 2008.