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Jezki looking to hoodwink his Champion Hurdle rivals

Irish trainer Jessica Harrington has revealed that Jezki is likely to wear a hood for the first time in the Champion Hurdle, a move which can be seen as a big positive by his supporters.

The JP McManus-owned gelding was a triple Grade 1 winner last season, and has finished behind Hurricane Fly on his last two starts.

The latest of those saw him finish fourth to Willie Mullins’ dual Champion Hurdle winner in the Irish Champion Hurdle in January, but he was not ridden to best effect that day and Harrington has not given up hope of him reversing the form.

She revealed at a Cheltenham preview evening on Tuesday March 4th that the six-year-old is set to wear a hood for the first time a week later on the 11th, in a bid to get him relaxed more and hopefully give him an extra edge.

It’s a move which has surprised many, but horses sporting headgear for the first time at last year’s Festival enjoyed remarkable success.

Gordon Elliott’s Flaxen Flare won the Fred Winter at 25/1 on day two in blinkers for the first time, and the following day saw another three horses wearing blinkers, a visor or a hood for the first time triumph.

Benefficient won the Jewson Novices’ Chase (now the JLT ) at 20/1 in a hood, Holywell scored at 25/1 in the Pertemps Final in blinkers, and Same Difference lifted the Kim Muir at 16-1 in a visor.

That is eye-catching to say the least, especially as others who fell into the category also ran huge races.

Ackertac was only beaten a neck into second at 66-1 in the Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase, Rock On Ruby came second at 11/2 in the Champion Hurdle and His Excellency finished third at 80-1 in the seven-runner Arkle Chase.

With that in mind, plus the fact that Jezki may yet be ridden by champion jockey Tony McCoy if My Tent Or Yours fails to recover from a minor foot injury, the 8/1 on offer with Coral about him for the Champion Hurdle could represent great of value.