Jezki (orange) comes to outpoint Champagne Fever (grey) with Minsk (yellow) & Zuzka in behind
©Healy Racing Photos
In the Grade 1 Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle Willie Mullins' pair, Champagne Fever (2nd) and Zuzka (3rd) lost little in defeat to a very classy two miler in the shape of Jezki (backed from 11/4 into 9/4) at Fairyhouse.
Jessica Harrington's victor, ridden by Hennessy Gold Cup hero, Barry Geraghty, was content to let Champagne Fever do the 'donkey-work' up front.
However from the back of the last Jezki 'did' Champagne Fever for a turn of pace with Zuzka, the mare, running a hell of a race to finish third. The margins at the line were a length and a half and a length.
Mrs Harrington commented: "I'm absolutely thrilled, it all went to plan. Barry said that's what he was going to do – sit in behind the others.
"When he gave him a squeeze three out he knew he had a lot of horse. He clattered the first and it just frightened him a bit and he jumped a bit big as far as Ballyhack.
"He was straight and true where it mattered and when they were going a bit quicker he concentrated more.
"The Supreme Novices' is the long term target as he's a two-miler. We'll have to discuss plans with the owner but he'll have at least one more run before Cheltenham.
"He could easily run at Christmas (if the ground is good) and after that I don't know.
"He's only four and he's bound to improve a bit for more experience.
"I was a little bit worried about going right-handed for the first time as all his runs have been left-handed.
"When I saw him jumping left early on I thought that's what we had discussed yesterday.
"He's always wanted better ground. The whole family want it on top and I'd imagine he'll be better on better ground too."
< Jezki is 10s from 16s with Boylesports for the Supreme Novice.
Paddy Power go 10 fav Jezki from 14s for the Supreme Novice.
Stan James Jezki 10s joint fav (from 14s) for the Supreme Novice. (GC & EM)