/ Racing

Jezki and Hurricane Fly set for rematch in Champion Hurdle at Punchestown

Updated: Friday, 11 Apr 2014 18:57 | Comments

Connections of Hurricane Fly will be hoping for rain ahead of the Punchestown Festival
Connections of Hurricane Fly will be hoping for rain ahead of the Punchestown Festival

Jessica Harrington believes Jezki can once again defeat Hurricane Fly in the Racing Post Champion Hurdle at Punchestown on 2 May.

Hurricane Fly was well beaten into fourth when defending his crown in the Champion Hurdle at last month's Cheltenham Festival, with Jezki powering up the hill to claim victory in the hands of Barry Geraghty.

Hurricane Fly has remarkably won the Racing Post Champion Hurdle for the last four years and has won eight times from nine starts at Punchestown, but Harrington is in confident mood.

She said: "Jezki is great and the plan is to go to Punchestown for the Racing Post Champion Hurdle.

"He wore a hood at Cheltenham and it helped him settle. It definitely made a difference and I think he can confirm the form with the others.

"He won impressively at Punchestown last year and won the Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse going right-handed, so I don't think you can say too much about him preferring to go either way round."

Hurricane Fly's trainer Willie Mullins also has Annie Power, Diakali, Un De Sceaux and Quevega engaged in the two-mile Grade one.

My Tent Or Yours has been entered by Nicky Henderson, but appears unlikely to run given he lines up in this weekend's Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr.

David Pipe's The Liquidator and Gordon Elliott's Triumph Hurdle winner Tiger Roll also feature among 15 possible runners.

A win for Jezki would be especially poignant in the wake of the news this morning that Harrington’s husband had died following a long battle with cancer.

Geraghty paid tribute to bloodstock agent Johnny Harrington who had trained horses on a small scale until his wife took over the permit in 1989.

The Meath man has ridden numerous big-race winners for the team at Commonstown Stables in County Kildare and will always be synonymous with the remarkable Moscow Flyer.

The jockey said: "It's very sad news.

"He's obviously not been well for a long time. I actually called him to see him on Monday.

"I've been involved with him for years and he's been a big part of everything that went on at the yard.

"He had a big say in the buying of horses like Moscow Flyer and Macs Joy, but he also had plenty of input into the training side of things as well.

"When Jezki won the Champion Hurdle, we were all thinking of Johnny.

"I know he had a full house that day and a bit of a party, which was nice."

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