Harrington has high hopes for Jezki and Jetson
Irish trainer Jessica Harrington’s reports Jezki’s preparation for the defence of his Champion Hurdle crown to be going smoothly, and is hopeful that his half-brother Jetson can put up a bold showing in the World Hurdle.
Jezki is yet to win in three starts this winter and has been behind Hurricane Fly on each occasion.
It was a similar story last season, but the seven-year-old got revenge in the Champion Hurdle when he had The Fly five lengths behind in fourth.
Coral currently go 5/1 about him retaining his crown in the 2m showpiece on Tuseday, March 10th.
Harrington, speaking at a stable media day organised by Cheltenham Racecourse, said: “Everything is going smoothly and if we can get him there in the same form, he will run another big race.
“You can argue that he has had a better season this time around than he did going into last year’s Champion Hurdle because he has finished closer to Hurricane Fly on two occasions.
“He has not had any hard races and seems to like Cheltenham in the spring of the year.
“AP McCoy is JP McManus’ first jockey and I assume he will ride Jezki, unless he chooses Kitten Rock. It will be AP’s last Champion Hurdle and it would be great if the pair could win it.”
Jezki’s half-brother Jetson is all set for the World Hurdle on St Patrick’s Day, Thursday, March 12th, and is a 20/1 chance with Coral.
The 10-year-old brought to an end Quevega’s nine-race unbeaten streak when denying the great mare by 1/14 lengths in World Series Hurdle at Punchestown last May.
Harrington said: “Jetson was a revelation last year. In his first run outside handicap company, he beat the great Quevega in the stayers hurdle at Punchestown.
“I thought that was a bit of a fluke but he has been second in two Grade 1 races this year. I think the World Hurdle is very open this year and Jetson loves Cheltenham – he has run well in the Pertemps a couple of times.
“I think the Irish staying form is every bit as good as the form in Britain. We have only seen Beat That once, At Fishers Cross does not look the horse he was, More Of That may not run and Annie Power is probably going for the mares’ hurdle.”
Below are Harrington’s thoughts on her other entries at The Festival:
Burn And Turn: “She was second to Road To Riches in the Galway Plate last year, which is obviously quite good form.
“She is going for the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate providing the ground is reasonably good. She has not run since November but that is not a concern because she always runs very well fresh.”
Kabjoy: “She’s a four-year-old filly who won on the Flat and won first time out for over hurdles at Gowran.
“She has had two runs since in graded races and I have entered her in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. I don’t know what mark she has yet and we will look at that before deciding if she definitely runs.
“She has had a good break since her last run and will like a bit of nice ground. I think she will have a good chance.”
Macnicholson: “We will probably be looking at the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle. Paddy Kennedy will ride if he goes for that. He has ridden Jetson around Cheltenham in the Pertemps, so he has experience.”
Modem: “He is entered in the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle but I am not sure if he will get in. He is set to run in a novice hurdle at Naas on Sunday and it will depend on how he performs there.
“He was moderate on the Flat but loves jumping. It was a good run in the BoyleSports Hurdle and he was just beaten by a better handicapped horse on the day. The winner had form behind the likes of Annie Power and I think that is good form.”
Rock On The Moor: “She won nicely this week but we are making no decision about whether or not she will go for the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle until next week.
“I spoke to the owner and we just want to let the dust settle and see how the race is shaping up.”
Sadler’s flaure: “He is in a couple of handicaps and there is an outside chance he will travel. He runs at Leopardstown on Saturday week and it depends on what happens there.
“He had a good run in Punchestown but then had a disastrous run in the Thyestes and made a bad mistake the last day. I am only really getting to grips with him now.
“He was a good horse in France and had not run for over a year until this season, so it is a learning curve for me. They keep telling me he stays but he likes to be up there and I think 2m 5f is his trip.”
Ttebbob: “He is in a couple of handicaps. He was supposed to go for the Pertemps but was sick when he ran in the qualifier at Christmas so he is not qualified.”