/ Racing

Jezki handles step up in trip in Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse

Updated: Sunday, 01 Dec 2013 16:59 | Comments

Jezki is a best-price 9-1 for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival
Jezki is a best-price 9-1 for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival

Jezki threw his hat into the ring for this season's Champion Hurdle with a solid if unspectacular victory in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

Stepped up to two and a half miles for the first time for this assignment, the 4-6 favourite travelled through the contest like much the best horse, but the front-running Diakali did not fade tamely and last year's winner Zaidpour was also staying on doggedly on the run to the final flight.

A small mistake from Jezki briefly gave his rivals hope, but once shaken up the market leader asserted his authority, scoring by a length and three-quarters from Zaidpour.

Winning jockey Tony McCoy said afterwards: “It was a good enough performance. He's done it pretty well and was very professional.

Harrington said: "The horse going off miles in front is not good for the nerves, but he made the ground up easy.

"He proved he gets two and a half miles and that's the main thing, but he'd be better over a fast run two miles.

"He's definitely better going left-handed and we'll keep him at two miles.

"The owner has got My Tent Or Yours as well, so I suppose it will all depend what they want to do.

"We'll let the dust settle before we make a plan."

The supplemented The Tullow Tank played a starring role in the Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle.

Philip Fenton's 5-1 shot stuck on gamely to edge out the front-running Renneti by half length to give Danny Mullins another Grade One victory.

The winner has quotes for a number of novice races at the Cheltenham Festival, but his trainer is unsure if the course and quicker ground would suit his charge.

"He looked to be a good horse and he proved it today. He had a battle on his hands from the second last and he saw it out well," said the trainer.

"We'll take it one step at a time. Going right-handed is a big plus to him, as he does go a little right.

"He could go left-handed back at Leopardstown, but it will be probably be January before he runs again.

"I don't know about Cheltenham. First of all it's left-handed and the ground will have a big bearing as well.

"If he goes left-handed in Leopardstown, we'll have a fair idea after that."

Fenton went on to complete a double as 9-4 shot Value At Risk made all the running in the concluding bumper.

"He could be a very good horse and we'll just stick to bumpers with him this season," said Fenton.

"I think Cheltenham would be on his agenda - that could be a way to ruin him!"

Gordon Elliott's pride and joy Don Cossack (13-8 favourite) finally grabbed the big prize he has always promised with a determined victory over Galway Plate hero Carlingford Lough in the Bar One Racing Drinmore Novice Chase.

Davy Russell looked booked for third at the second last on the imposing six-year-old but he stuck on gamely.

Elliott said: "I'm delighted he's won. Punchestown knocked the edge off him. He struggled a bit from five out (today).

"He won't go anywhere over Christmas. He might go to Leopardstown at the end of January.

"I'm not sure he's an out and out three-miler myself."

While out of luck in the two Grade One races in which he was represented, champion trainer Willie Mullins did not leave empty handed, with Ruby Walsh steering 3-10 favourite Analifet to a hugely impressive victory in the Bar One Racing Juvenile 3-Y-O Hurdle.

The filly is 10-1 favourite with Paddy Power for the Triumph Hurdle.

Mullins said: "It was a good performance and I'm delighted with her. It was a quick time on quick ground and she was able to handle that. I think soft ground won't be any worry to her either.

"I'll probably look at Leopardstown at Christmas with her."

She's Got Grit was a 7-1 winner of the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Mares Handicap Chase, while bold-jumping grey Thelobstercatcher (7-1) claimed the Bar One Racing Porterstown Handicap Chase.

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