Jezki turns the tables on Champagne Fever in the Champion Novice HurdlePICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Jezki slams rivals in Punchestown romp
Report: Punchestown, Tuesday
Herald Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m, 5yo+
JEZKI gained revenge on Champagne Fever for his defeat at Cheltenham in the best possible style as the five-year-old slammed his rivals with an authoritative win.
The 2-1 second favourite had finished two and three-quarter lengths behind Champagne Fever when finishing third in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle last month but he turned that form on its head as he scooted clear on the run-in to win by 16 lengths from Ted Veale. Champagne Fever finished a further three-quarters of a length back in third.
Champagne Fever had been sent off the even-money favourite to repeat the exploits of Back In Front in 2003 and Brave Inca the following year in adding this race to his Supreme title, but the writing was on the wall as he raced into the top of the straight with Jezki travelling notably better in behind the front-runner.
While Ruby Walsh was getting close to running on empty on board the favourite, in contrast Barry Geraghty still looked to have plenty left in the tank on his market rival and, after taking up the running as they headed towards the last, he wrapped this up in a matter of strides.
Jezki got quotes of as low as 6-1 for next season's Champion Hurdle and winning trainer Jessica Harrington said: "I was delighted that they went such a gallop because it helped him settle and after the second flight he jumped brilliantly and just accelerated past them.
"He's only a five-year-old so I would imagine he'll stay at two miles over hurdles next season."
Ted Veale, winner of the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, stayed on without ever being a danger to the winner who was the third successive horse to win this in the colours of JP McManus following Shot From The Hip in 2011 and Alderwood 12 months ago.
Rule The World was pulled up by Davy Russell having sustained a suspected pelvic injury and was taken to the veterinary hospital for further examination.