Jezki set to rule in Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse
Leading National Hunt owner JP McManus will have a much clearer picture of his Champion Hurdle hopes after this weekend’s action. Nicky Henderson’s My Tent Or Yours is in action at Newcastle on Saturday and Jezki will start favourite for the Grade 1 Hatton’s Grace Hurdle on Sunday.
Champion jockey AP McCoy will also be in a good position to judge their respective claims after riding both horses. Jezki was purchased last season when ante-post favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle but was usurped in the betting when My Tent Or Yours bolted up in the Betfair Hurdle.
He ran a fine race at the festival, finishing just two and three-quarter lengths behind Champagne Fever in third after a mistake at the last. He gained revenge on that horse when running away with the Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown in April.
Market rival Rule The World was pulled up on that occasion but has since returned to form with a comfortable victory at Naas in October. He shaped like a stayer last season when chasing home The New One at the festival over two and a half miles and may find this trip on the sharp side.
The Grade 1 Drinmore Novices’ Chase looks quite an open affair, despite there being only six runners. Don Cossack was a beaten favourite at Punchestown behind Morning Assembly whilst Sizing Rio is on a hat-trick following a decisive 10-length victory at Cork.
Road To Riches made all to win at Naas last time and could be a tough nut to crack if allowed to dictate terms again here. Art Of Logistics is on also on a hat-trick whilst Tony McCoy partners the consistent Carlingford Lough in a fascinating contest.
Willie Mullins can register a Grade 1 success in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle with the unbeaten Alonso. Ruby Walsh has chosen to ride this one in preference to stable companions Arctic Fire and Renneti and the hint is worth taking.
The same combination can also take the opener with the unbeaten Analifet. The French-bred filly was always going best at Punchestown last time and should follow up.
Selections: 12.10 Analifet (nb), 12.40 Alonso, 1.10 Road To Riches, 1.45 Pur Style, 2.15 Jezki (NAP), 2.50 Sword Fish, 3.20 Value At Risk