Jezki sidesteps Cheltenham Festival for small-field task at Leopardstown
Jezki will not attempt to add to his Cheltenham Festival haul next week and instead the 2014 Champion Hurdle winner will line up in the 2m2f conditions hurdle at Leopardstown (1.25).
The ten-year-old has run at five of the past six festivals, achieving his greatest moment for Jessica Harrington when beating fellow JP McManus-owned My Tent Or Yours in a pulsating finish to the Champion Hurdle.
While My Tent Or Yours has gone on to finish second in two more Champion Hurdles and will be trying again on Tuesday, Harrington and her team have settled for a less demanding challenge at Leopardstown.
Jezki has only four rivals but that is not to say the task is straightforward. He will need to overcome the Willie Mullins-trained Karalee – the mount of Ruby Walsh as he continues his comeback – Gigginstown pair Gangster and Lieutenant Colonel, and Ellmarie Holden's soft-ground lover Ex Patriot.
Tyner hopeful Koeman can blast away rivals
Robert Tyner is optimistic that Blast Of Koeman, a respectable fourth in a valuable 2m1f handicap chase at Leopardstown at the Dublin Racing Festival, will handle the step up to 2m5f back at the track in the €50,000 handicap chase (3.30).
He said: “I just hope it doesn’t get too soft for him as I don’t think he’d want it heavy. The step up in trip should be okay.”
The snow may have scuppered Adrian Murray’s ambitious Cheltenham plan with Killaro Boy, but the trainer is hopeful the nine-year-old will have plenty of big days ahead of him.
He said: “The plan was to run at this meeting when it was originally fixed for last week and then hopefully go to Cheltenham, where we’d have gone for the Kim Muir.
“We won’t be going there now and he’ll probably need the run. Andrew Lynch rode him in a piece of work recently and said he’d come on for a run, so hopefully he will.
“Long term, you’d be hoping he could be an Irish National horse but he has loads of options.”
Elliott warming up for festival in style
Gordon Elliott, who will be travelling a team of 40 or more horses to Cheltenham and enjoyed a good afternoon's work at Thurles on Thursday, will be hoping to continue his fine run of form in the build-up to the festival with a number of strong fancies at the Foxrock track.
Topweight Destin D'Ajonc has leading claims in the 2m handicap hurdle (2.25), Jetstream Jack and General Principle represent the yard in the €100,000 handicap chase (3.30), while high-class Flat recruit Pallasator will bid to win his first race over hurdles in the 2m4f maiden (1.55).
The nine-year-old, who reached a peak rating of 113 on the Flat, has his quirks but after two respectable races for Elliott over hurdles he seems to have leading claims of breaking his jumping duck at the third attempt.
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