The 2014 Champion Hurdle winner Jezki has had his share of problems and being off the race track, but his form entitles him to play a huge part in the outcome of Thursday’s feature race, the Sun Bets Stayers Hurdle over 3 miles.
The distance of the race has been called into question for Jessica Harrington’s 9-year old stable star, but he has won a Grade 1 over three miles and we all know how much this horse relishes the Cheltenham hill.
At Cheltenham betting odds of 7/1 or more with most online bookmakers, he can be confidently backed each way in the hope of a massive run.
In his two starts so far this season, Jezki has finished first and second in respectable fashion, but is yet to fully prove he is capable of the performances of old.
The speed figures suggest he is though with the Cheltenham Festival as the prime target. Given that he is a former champion around here, it is reasonable to expect an upturn in his form.
People like to knock his win over Hurricane Fly in the Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown in 2015, but Jezki produce a Racing Post Rating of 165 that day and produced a Topspeed rating of 144, which suggests it was a legitimately top class staying performance.
On good ground, and back at his favourite Cheltenham racecourse, who could confidently rule him out?
Fellow JP McManus owned Unowhatimeanharry is the even money favourite and justifiably so given his unbeaten run since winning the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle here last year. He does everything right and is sure to run well.
But Jezki is a top class animal and at 8/1 with 888Sport, he could be the value bet in the race. Even more so for new 888 customers who can benefit from their excellent ‘treble the odds’ offer with your first bet of up to £10.
Robbie McNamara at preview in Adare.— Johnny Ward (@Ui_Maine) March 11, 2017
"If Jezki wins the Stayers Hurdle I'll get up and walk off my wheelchair". What a bloody legend.
Shaneshill has made a habit of finishing second at the festival and is taken to run well again, while 2015 World Hurdle winner Cole Harden is likely to make them all work for it from the front once again, but he could be vulnerable to a finishing turn of foot, hopefully from Jezki.