Jezki May Have One Run Before Cheltenham

Wed 12th Dec 2012, 17:43

©Healy Racing Photos
Unbeaten hurdler Jezki, joint-favourite for the Surpreme Novices' Hurdle, could head straight for the Cheltenham Festival after one more start at Leopardstown over Christmas.

Trainer Jessica Harrington concurred that her charge had already proved himself a far superior horse over hurdles than he ever looked in bumpers last season saying: "He is but I think that's got a lot to do with him settling well," she told At The Races.

"The plan is at the moment to go to Leopardstown at Christmas for the two-mile Grade One [the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle on December 27- won in recent years by the likes of Hurricane Fly and First Lieutenant].

"After that we will see. There's a 2m2f at Punchestown or we could go straight to Cheltenham."

Another possible Cheltenham Festival contender for the stable, Oscars Well is also set to be in action at the same Leopardstown meeting.

Sixth in the Champion Hurdle last season, he impressed on his steeplechasing debut at Punchestown in October only to get no further than the second fence at the same track two and a half weeks later.

The seven-year-old has since put in a clear round at Navan to return to winning form, but Harrington is keen to get further match practice into Oscars Well in the weeks ahead.

"After the first run I was delighted, he was brilliant. Then at Punchestown he took a bad fall and he was lucky to get up from it," she said.

"We gave him a bit of time to recover from it and then he went to Navan and I couldn't have been more pleased with him.

"He goes over two miles and a furlong at Christmas in the novice chase at Leopardsown, then he goes for the Irish Arkle and then we can make a decision whether he steps up in trip after that."

Harrington also added that Steps To Freedom, a Grade Two winner at Cheltenham and busy on the Flat in the summer, was ready to return to racing after a break at the end of the summer.

"He'll have an entry in the Champion Hurdle," she said. "He's had a nice break and he's back in work and we'll see how we get on with him."

Fingal Bay out for season

Fingal Bay has been ruled out for the season following an injury sustained when he ran out in dramatic circumstances at Exeter last Friday.