/ Racing

Jezki turns tables on Champagne Fever at Punchestown Festival

Updated: Tuesday, 23 Apr 2013 17:21 | Comments

Jezki is a best-price 12-1 for the Champion Hurdle at next season's Cheltenham Festival after his comprehensive victory at Punchestown
Jezki is a best-price 12-1 for the Champion Hurdle at next season's Cheltenham Festival after his comprehensive victory at Punchestown

Jezki, who finished third behind Champagne Fever in the Supreme Novice’s Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, comprehensively reversed form with that rival in landing the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival.

Jezki, who finished third behind Champagne Fever in the Supreme Novice’s Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, comprehensively reversed form with that rival in landing the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival.

Unbeaten in his first four starts over timber, Jessica Harrington's five-year-old had beaten the Willie Mullins-trained Champagne Fever earlier in the season but was beaten by that foe at Prestbury Park

With the scores even, the pair renewed rivalries in this Grade One event and even-money favourite Champagne Fever was once again sent straight to the lead.

However, while he managed to shake off his opponents at Cheltenham, 2-1 shot Jezki was travelled noticeably better rounding the home turn on this occasion and soon asserted under Barry Geraghty.

He safely negotiated the final flight to seal a comfortable victory, with County Hurdle winner Ted Veale beating Champagne Fever to the runner-up spot.

Asked why her charge was able to improve so significantly on his Cheltenham run, the trainer replied: "I honestly don't know. I thought he was 100% going to Cheltenham, maybe he didn't like the cold weather, maybe it was the travelling or maybe it was the hill.

"He took a chance at the second (hurdle) today, but he settled great and just accelerated past them.

"He's only done one piece of work since Cheltenham. We've done very little with him, but he's a wonderful horse to train.

"I haven't spoken properly to Mr (JP) McManus (owner) but I would imagine he will stay at two miles over hurdles next season."

Mullins was at a loss to explain Champagne Fever's disappointing display.

"He didn't seem to jump with such fluency today. He missed three or four down the back," said the trainer.

"Ruby (Walsh) thought they'd gone a fair gallop and I don't know what happened. He just didn't fire."

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