Geraghty salutes ‘brilliant’ Jezki as Champion Hurdle hero retires

Geraghty salutes ‘brilliant’ Jezki as Champion Hurdle hero retires

Barry Geraghty has paid tribute to Jezki after the 2014 Champion Hurdle winner was retired at the age of 11.

Trained throughout his whole career by Jessica Harrington, he was always highly regarded after winning his first two bumpers.

He appeared at five successive Cheltenham Festivals, finishing eighth and third behind Champagne Fever in the Champion Bumper and Supreme Novices’ Hurdle respectively on his first two visits.

Jezki rounded off his novice season with a Grade One win at Punchestown – but it was the following season for which he will be remembered.

He won the Hatton’s Grace before Hurricane Fly had his measure twice at Leopardstown, but at Cheltenham, on quicker ground, he beat My Tent Or Yours, in the same JP McManus silks, by a neck with Hurricane Fly only fourth.

With Tony McCoy choosing My Tent Or Yours, Geraghty came in for the ride on Jezki in the Champion Hurdle.

“He was brilliant, I had a great run on him over the years,” said Geraghty.

“I won the big novice hurdle at Punchestown on him one year and then obviously the Champion Hurdle when he beat My Tent Or Yours.

“He was around in a great age of two-mile hurdlers, like Hurricane Fly, Faugheen and My Tent. He was a brilliant horse.

“He clashed with Hurricane Fly so many times. Jessie did a great job with him and he was a great second string for me to ride that year.

“Even when he stepped up in trip he won an Aintree Hurdle, so it worked out well.

“While he wasn’t quite what he was the last couple of years I won on him at Leopardstown (in March last year) and he was brilliant that day – he had such a great attitude and he was absolutely rapid over a hurdle.”

Geraghty himself has been sidelined since breaking his leg in a fall at the Aintree Grand National meeting, but his return is imminent.

“The leg is coming along well, I’ve been doing plenty of physio and I hope to start riding out next week,” he said.

“I will hopefully be back for Listowel (in September), that’s the plan.”

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