Jezki in good shape for bid to make festival history
Jezki bids to make history by adding the three-mile Grade 1 event to his success in the Champion Hurdle three years ago.
The double has never been achieved in the modern era and in the Stayers’ Hurdle’s current format, although Clair Soleil (1955 and 1959) and Merry Deal (1957 and 1962) won both races when the longer event was known as the Spa Hurdle and was run with penalty clauses.
After two runs this season following an absence of almost two years, the Jessica Harrington-trained nine-year-old is poised to deliver a big performance.
Successful on his reappearance at Navan in January, he was beaten by Tombstone in the Red Mills Hurdle on testing ground at Gowran Park last month and the better conditions now are expected to suit him.
Harrington said: “Jezki’s in very good form and we’re hopeful. He beat Hurricane Fly in a Grade 1 over three miles at the Punchestown festival two years ago, so the trip isn’t a worry.
“He’s learned to settle a lot better than he used to, although we’re putting a hood on him for the first time this season. He’s never been a brilliant worker at home but his preparation has gone well.”
Mark Walsh rides the eight-time Grade 1 winner, who is one of two runners for owner JP McManus, who is also represented by favourite Unowhatimeanharry.
Pros High-class performer at his best, winning the 2014 Champion Hurdle. Has won a Grade 1 over the trip and could play a big part with drying ground a plus
Cons He has to prove he is still the force he was