• Racing/
  • Jezki Impresses At Punchestown

Herald Champion Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m

  • (5yo+, 2m, Class 1, 6 runners)
  • Winner €49,600 2nd €15,200 3rd €7,200 4th €2,400 5th €1,600
  • Going: Soft, Heavy in places
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 4m 10.60s
  • Off time: 16:20:29
  • Last Updated: April 23 2013, 18:33 BST

Jezki was an impressive winner of the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown.

Jezki: Grade 1 prize at Punchestown
Jezki: Grade 1 prize at Punchestown

Jessica Harrington's five-year-old may have had a few detractors following his defeat at Cheltenham in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle but he proved those wrong in emphatic style with a breathtaking display of hurdling.

Champagne Fever (Evens fav) predictably set out to make the running and with Mallowney for company, the pair travelled along with plenty of zest.

The race, was however, to begin in earnest with two to jump as the winner and Ted Veale began to creep closer and as Ruby Walsh asked his mount to pick up, he found disappointingly little and began to backpedal quickly.

Barry Geraghty had no such worries and having got past the leaders, Jezki breezed to the line with the minimum of fuss and some 16 lengths clear of the remainder.

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."

Rule The World appeared to be injured after they negotiated the third flight and was quickly pulled up by Davy Russell.

Eddie O'Leary, racing manager for owners Gigginstown House Stud, said: "He's with the vets at the moment and we're not quite sure.

"It could be his pelvis."

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