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Jezki win deserves more credit than My Tent Or Yours’ Newcastle victory

The Champion Hurdle betting is the most competitive at the Cheltenham Festival and both Jezki and My Tent Or Yours both staked their claims this weekend.

Both horses are owned by JP McManus however, whilst both were winners, the reaction to their victories differed quite markedly.

The performance of My Tent Or Yours in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle had the commentators purring as the Nicky Henderson-trained runner won in emphatic fashion.

Ridden by AP McCoy (who could have ridden at Newbury), the six-year-old travelled very powerfully throughout the race before scooting clear to win by three lengths.

Accordingly he is now 4/1 (from 5s) to win the Champion Hurdle in March.

Bet on My Tent Or Yours to win Champion Hurdle at 4/1

However McCoy’s comments after the race might lend a word of caution to those looking to invest in the latest star to roll off the Henderson production line.

The 18-time Champion Jockey said: “It was a good return but to be honest I would have been disappointed if he couldn’t have won like that if he’s going to be a Champion Hurdle horse.

“He needs to improve, to progress, if he’s going to beat a horse like Hurricane Fly who has won 17 Grade Ones.”

McCoy’s stance is backed up by the ratings of the runner-up Cockney Sparrow (141 receiving 7lbs) and Grumeti (151).

However it was hard not to be impressed by the style of victory and the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle runner-up is certainly a horse to be feared this season.

The son of Desert Prince is set to run in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton on Boxing Day before heading to Cheltenham in March.

My Tent Or Yours was second in the 2013 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Jezki was third – one place behind My Tent Or Yours – in the Supreme Novices’ and also made his reappearance this weekend, winning the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

The two mile four furlong contest was won by Hurricane Fly en-route to Champion Hurdle glory in 2011 and Jessica Harrington will be hoping that Jezki can do the same.

Her stable star travelled powerfully in a fragmented race and provided McCoy with another big-race win.

McCoy explained: “It was a good enough performance. He’s a bit like the horse that won yesterday [My Tent Or Yours] – they are good novices from last year.”

Jezki was third in the 2013 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

However the performance suggested that Jezki doesn’t want to race over any further than that trip and that it was ideal preparation for a strongly-run two mile Champion Hurdle.

The March showpiece isn’t always run at a ferocious gallop however Jezki’s jumping on Sunday – bar a mistake at the final hurdle – was very slick and he looks to have all the tools to win.

He was left unchanged at 8/1 for the Champion Hurdle but that looks a dangerous move by the odds-compilers; AP McCoy could have a very tough choice to make in three months’ time.