Hurricane Fly to hold sway over Jezki

 Jezki (left) in action at Punchestown earlier this year. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Jezki (left) in action at Punchestown earlier this year. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Jezki may be the reigning Champion Hurdler but it is the former title- holder Hurricane Fly who is rated an odds-on favourite to secure a 20th Grade 1 success, should the pair clash in Sunday week’s Stan James Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown.

Hurricane Fly has won the €80,000 Grade 1 for the past two years and Willie Mullins’s veteran superstar is already a 10-11 favourite with Paddy Power to make it a Morgiana hat-trick despite having being beaten by Jezki in their last two meetings.

After two defeats of his younger rival last winter, Hurricane Fly came up short of Jezki in both the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and in May’s feature hurdle at the Punchestown festival.

Jezki’s trainer Jessica Harrington has recently echoed Mullins in nominating the Morgiana as a likely seasonal kick off for her stable star although Mullins also has the option of running Annie Power and the novice Faugheen, even if the latter is unlikely to step up to open Grade 1.

“Faugheen will start off against second-season novices,” Mullins reported. “There is no need for him to be taking on the likes of Jezki and Hurricane Fly early on.”

Hurricane Fly is as high as 25-1 to regain the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham but the world-record Grade 1 winner is also as low as 10-1 to successfully extend out to three miles in the World Hurdle.

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