New trip no barrier to superstar Jezki in Hatton’s Grace

Jessica Harrington’s Jezki puts his Champion Hurdle credentials on the line in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle this afternoon at Fairyhouse.

Currently priced at 8/1 for the Cheltenham showpiece, Harrington’s ace will face a stern test in today’s 2m 4f contest as he steps up in trip for the first time in his career.

On breeding the son of Milan should have little difficulty with the extra half a mile; his immediate family Jetson and Jered both stayed the trip.

However Tony McCoy, who rides the JP McManus-owned five-year-old for just the second time, believes that this could be his toughest test to date.

McCoy said: “We’re all expecting him to come on plenty from his last run.

“He needs to, though, because he’s up against some very useful horses and he needs to be putting up a good show if he is to be considered a live Champion Hurdle horse.”

Bet on Jezki to win the Champion Hurdle at 8/1

Jezki’s last trip to Gloucestershire resulted in a fine performance as he was only beaten two lengths into third behind Champagne Fever in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

However that first defeat over hurdles has not knocked his condfidence as he then went on to win the Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown, his third Grade One win.

Returning with a facile victory a month ago at Down Royal, Harrington’s ace couldn’t be in better form as he heads into the unknown with this new trip.

However he has won at the course – he landed the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle on this card last season – and is the deserved favourite to come out on top.

Bet on Jezki to win the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle

His main rivals are owned by the powerful Gigginstown Stud.

Tony Martin’s Dedigout is back over hurdles after a turbulent season over fences but he prefers softer ground and it’s no surprise that Davy Russell has decided to ride Rule The World instead.

Mouse Morris’ star six-year-old nearly died from a pelvic injury last season but the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle runner-up is back on track.

He won on his reappearance at Naas and, although he missed an engagement in the Lismullen Hurdle (won by Dedigout) because of a small setback, Morris has described himself as “happy enough with him.”

Bet on Rule The World to win the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle

This race was won last season by Willie Mullins’ Zaidpour who lines up once again.

Mullins also won this race in 2010 with Hurricane Fly so he knows what it takes to lift the prize, however the County Carlow trainer believes that the ground is too fast for the talented seven-year-old.

On the contrary, his other representative Diakali, a son of Sinndar, could relish the quicker going.

The four-year-old is one of several horses who have franked Our Conor’s Triumph Hurdle win and the young horse receives 4lb from his elders.

Ridden by Paul Townend, he will be bidding to become the first four-year-old winner of a race which includes Istabraq and Hurricane Fly among its roll-call of winners.