Jezki can blow away the Hurricane in Ryanair Hurdle
Hurricane Fly and Jezki lock horns again today in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown (1.25), and the latter is fancied to come out on top in a fascinating contest.
The Jessica Harrington trained six-year-old was beaten 2 1/2 lengths by the Hurricane in last year’s renewal but went on to gain his revenge on the big stage when completing the English/Irish Champion Hurdle double at Cheltenham and Punchestown.
Jezki had little difficulty beating Hurricane Fly by 3 1/4 lengths in the latter, and although Willie Mullins’ star turned the tables when they met on seasonal reappearance in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown last month there is reason to believe that Jezki will reverse the placings.
The son of Milan looked big and well and sure to come on for his first run of the season, whereas Hurricane Fly looked razor sharp and has a good record fresh.
Jezki also made several slight mistakes, including at the last, and was not knocked about by Mark Walsh once it was clear he would not be winning.
He looks sure to come on a bundle for the outing, and with AP McCoy now taking over in the saddle can make it course and distance win number four on the final day of the Christmas Festival.
Hurricane Fly is Jezki’s only real rival on paper as the pair are rated 19lb and upwards clear of their rivals.
The 10-year-old had been written off by many as past his best after getting comprehensively outpointed by Jezki in the Champion Hurdle and the Irish equivalent back in the spring but showed he was no back number when winning the Morgiana.
The son of Montjeu looked to have it all to do after a mistake two out, but quickly came back on the bridle and after being produced by jockey Ruby Walsh to lead at the last quickened clear on the run-in.
It was a performance which brought the house down, and provided Hurricane Fly with an incredible 20th success in Grade 1 company.
The victory also saw Hurricane Fly take his career earnings to more than £1.7 million and confirmed his status as one of the best hurdlers of the modern era.
Hurricane Fly is also unbeaten in eight runs over course and distance, and with Ruby Walsh in the saddle is sure to give it his best shot to win the race for a fifth time.