Jezki rolls back the years to put himself in line for tilt at Aintree
trainer Jessica Harrington will consider options at Aintree and Punchestown for Jezki after he made the most of having his sights lowered to register a 16th career victory at Leopardstown yesterday.
The Milan gelding has won eight Grade Ones, including the 2014 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, but it is nearly three years since he last struck at the highest level when seeing off old rival Hurricane Fly at the Punchestown Festival.
The 10-year-old kicked off this season by winning the Istabraq Hurdle at Tipperary in October and while he has struggled in Grade One events since, he justified 11/10 favouritism to stamp his class in the opener.
Barry Geraghty cut a confident figure in the saddle throughout and while he gave his supporters a scare by diving at the final fence, he managed to stay on all fours and galloped on tenaciously to score by two lengths from Lieutenant Colonel.
Harrington said: "It's great to see him back, although he did his best to capsize at the last. Barry said he was very long but he quickened up well after it. He may go to Aintree or may go to Punchestown - it will depend on the ground."
The Moone-based trainer went on to complete a double, with Sizing Pottsie (11/4) making a big impression in the concluding bumper under Kate Harrington.
"He's very good and we actually put him in the graded bumper here last month, but he just wasn't right at the time," said the trainer.
Pallasator made it third time lucky over jumps in the Donohoe Marquees Maiden Hurdle.
A former winner of the Doncaster Cup when trained by Mark Prescott, the giant nine-year-old joined Gordon Elliott last autumn, he could only finish fifth and fourth on his first two starts over hurdles.
Sent off at 2/1 on his third attempt in the hands of Davy Russell, Pallasator travelled with plenty of zest and readily extended seven and a half lengths clear of Dunvegan.
Tom Mullins saddled two winners, with Bryan Cooper steering Grand Partner (5/1) to victory in the two-mile handicap hurdle and Spider Web justifying 7/2 favouritism in the TRI Equestrian Handicap Chase under Mark Enright. Martin Brassil and Mark Walsh combined to land the beginners chase with Artic Pearl (3/1 favourite).