Bookies expect Jezki to advertise his Champion Hurdle claims at Fairyhouse
Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown Stud team add to their options by supplementing Dedigout into the Hatton’s Grace
Jezki is fancied to advertise his Champion Hurdle claims in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse this weekend.
Bookmakers expect Jezki to comprehensively advertise his Champion Hurdle claims when headlining Sunday’s triple-Grade One card at Fairyhouse but owner JP McManus is unlikely to take anything for granted in the €80,000 Bar One Hatton’s Grace Hurdle.
McManus has won the two-and-a-half-mile feature on three occasions in the past but came out on the losing side of perhaps the most famous Hatton’s Grace renewal of all 14 years ago when the legendary Istabraq was memorably turned over at odds of 1/7 by Limestone Lad.
Jezki, a general 8/1 shot for the Champion Hurdle in March, won’t be anything like as short as Istabraq when he will face a maximum half-dozen opponents but he has still been installed a clear evens favourite by Paddy Power.
Despite another relatively small entry for a Grade One prize, the Fairyhouse authorities have at least avoided a mini-repeat of Hurricane Fly’s 1/16 victory in the Morgiana earlier this month, and another element was introduced yesterday when Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown Stud team added to their options by supplementing Dedigout into the Hatton’s Grace.
The €8,000 move means the Lismullen Hurdle winner joins Rule The World among a seven-strong entry that also includes the Willie Mullins pair, Diakali and last year’s Hatton’s Grace winner, Zaidpour.
Most eyes though will focus on Jezki, beaten just the once in seven starts over flights, and a winner at Down Royal earlier this month before skipping a clash with Hurricane Fly in the Morgiana to wait for this weekend’s race.
Another one of Ireland’s top owners was in supplementary-mood yesterday with Barry Connell paying €7,500 to get The Tullow Tank into the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle, for which 10 entries now remain.
They include the Down Royal winner Gilt Shadow whose trainer Stuart Crawfod will also take on the unbeaten McManus-owned horse Minella Foru, Gigginstown’s Very Wood as well as the Jessica Harrington trained pair, Mr Fiftyone and Gambling Girl.
“The way he won his maiden hurdle at Down Royal gives him a bit of credibility to run in a race like that. He ran well behind The Liquidator and he had Apache Stronghold behind him when he was second in the Champion Bumper at Punchestown,” said Crawford.
Sunday’s third Grade One prize is the Drinmore Novice Chase for which the Gigginstown team are out in force with three of the eight horses left in owned by Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary. Don Cossack appears to head the trio which also includes Road To Riches and Shrapnel, in a race which also includes Carlingford Lough.
Meanwhile, Godolphin have bought a majority share in this year’s Irish Derby hero Trading Leather who will continue to race in 2014 for trainer Jim Bolger.