Elliott as surprised as anyone as Mick Jazz enjoys his day in the sun
Few would have expected Mick Jazz to win the Grade 1 Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown on Friday and victory was certainly not an outcome entertained by the 14-1 shot's trainer Gordon Elliott.
However, after hotpot Faugheen was pulled up before two out, Mick Jazz went on to land the highlight of the final afternoon of the four-day meeting by a length and three-quarters.
"We weren't expecting that result, that's for certain," Elliott said. "We were hoping he might finish second or third but there was no way we thought he'd beat Faugheen, who looked a certainty.
"But it's always said that there is no such thing as a certainty. I hope Faugheen will be okay but today was Mick Jazz's day in the sun and I suppose we will give him a Champion Hurdle entry."
Sky Bet and bet365 quote the six-year-old, who was ridden here by Davy Russell, at 33-1 for the Unibet-sponsored Champion.
Elliott, who owns Mick Jazz in partnership with US-based George Mahoney, added: "George and his family travelled from the US to see the horse run in the County Hurdle in March, but Mick Jazz went lame and had to be withdrawn.
"We bought him to run in some of the big jump races in the US and he has had some niggly little problems. We'll have to see what we do with him now."
Faugheen's stablemate Cilaos Emery finished second, with the Elliott-trained Campeador 21 lengths adrift in third in the five-runner event.
Russell said: "I did fancy Mick Jazz to finish second coming back to two miles, but it was great to get the win.
"He had to be tough to go and pass Cilaos Emery because he wasn't giving in too easy, and he did battle well to win."
It was a second success in the race for Russell, who won on Solwhit for Charles Byrnes in 2009, while Elliott was landing the event for the first time.
It capped another terrific day for Elliott, who 35 minutes earlier had won the other Grade 1 on the card with Shattered Love. Paddy Power cut him to 8-15 (from 8-13) to win a first trainers' title, with defending champion Mullins eased to 11-8 from 6-5.
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