Jezki has too many gears for Hurricane – whatever Ruby tries
Published 02/05/2014 | 02:30
It's hard to know how the Racing Post Champion Hurdle will unfold this evening, but I'd fancy Jezki to emerge on top no matter what tactics are adopted.
Hurricane Fly has got to the stage where he looks like he might be better suited by two-and-a-half miles. He was just one-paced when beaten at Cheltenham, so I wouldn't be surprised if Ruby Walsh elected to make his own running on him today. Ruby certainly won't want a slow gallop.
Steps To Freedom might try to set the pace for Jezki, but he could also just hunt around behind them to pick up his share of the money.
Either way, I think Jezki has too many gears at this stage. He is four years younger than Hurricane Fly, which surely counts for a lot at this level.
Willie Mullins has a better chance of taking the day's other Grade One with Vautour. I know Vautour is stepping up in trip and that Willie wasn't happy enough with his fitness level to run him on Tuesday, but he wouldn't risk him here if he wasn't 100pc.
This fella looks the real deal, so there is no way that Willie would try him over a longer trip if he wasn't entirely happy.
Noel Meade runs Apache Stronghold, which I won a maiden hurdle on over course and distance in October. He ran nicely on his return from a lay-off at Fairyhouse, but he is probably more of a chaser in the making. We won't see the best of him until he jumps fences next season.
Lac Fontana is the one most likely to put it up to Vautour. He is improving, although I'd be concerned that he had a very hard race when winning at Aintree.
Noel's Mullaghanoe River, another that I won a maiden hurdle on, could take all the beating in the novices' handicap chase. He was travelling really sweetly when he fell five-out under Nina Carberry in the Irish Grand National, and he does have to jump better in general.
Paul Carberry knows him well, though, so he appeals as nap material to get back on track.
In the novice hurdle, Double Irish might go close. He is a horse that I ride a lot at home for Gordon Elliott, and he has been working well. He needs to settle better, but he is learning.
3.40 Mtada Supreme
4.20 Mullaghanoe River (nap)
4.55 Une Artiste
6.40 Double Irish
7.10 Montana Belle
7.45 On The Fringe
Mullaghanoe River and Montana Belle