Connections consider options for Zuzka

Connections of Zuzka have yet to make any firm plans for the rest of the season following her odds-on reverse at Leopardstown last weekend.

Connections consider options for Zuzka

Following a fine third behind Jezki in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse and an impressive victory back against her own sex at Christmas, the six-year-old was a hot favourite for the Listed Frank Ward Solicitors Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle.

However, Ruby Walsh never appeared happy in the saddle aboard the Willie Mullins-trained mare and she had to settle for minor honours in third behind stable companion Glens Melody.

Steve Massey, racing manager for owners the Supreme Horse Racing Club, said: “She never travelled and never really got going for whatever reason.

“Mares can do that from time to time, but she still finished off her race well to finish third in a Listed race and I’m told she has come out of the race fine.

“Hopefully there’ll be other days for her, but I’m not sure where she’ll go next.”

Massey did suggest the owners would love to see Zuzka line up in the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, but admits she would have plenty on her plate in that race against her top-class stable companion Quevega, winner of the race for the last four years.

“It would obviously be great for us to see her run at Cheltenham, but that’s up to Willie and if she did go there, we know we’d probably be running for place money, as we’d be up against a top-quality mare in Quevega.”

Meanwhile, ante-post favourite Jezki features among 94 entries for the William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the opening race of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival.

Jessica Harrington’s five-year-old is unbeaten in four starts over timber and having followed up his victory in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle with another brilliant Grade One success at Leopardstown over Christmas, he was snapped up by leading owner JP McManus.

Jezki is one of 30 Irish-trained entries, with champion trainer Willie Mullins responsible for seven of them, including the hugely exciting Un Atout and Pique Sous.

Pont Alexandre and The New One are the star names among a huge list of 119 entries for the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

The five-year-old is one of 35 Irish-trained entries, with Mullins unsurprisingly strong-armed with the likes of Champagne Fever, Ballycasey, Pique Sous and Un Atout all engaged, although the majority have alternative entries in the other novice hurdles at the Festival.

Mouse Morris’ runaway Naas scorer Rule The World is another huge hope for the Emerald Isle.

The Margaret Mullins-trained Anonis was still going well when falling behind Pont Alexandre at Leopardstown on Sunday and the Cheltenham bumper winner is entered in the Neptune, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Albert Bartlett.

Mullins said: “I’m not sure which race will be his target yet – I will leave that to Barry (Connell, owner) – but he is just a little bit sore at the moment and we will just have to see how he is over the next few days.

Ante-post favourite Rolling Star features among 58 entries for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham on March 15.

The 15 Irish contenders are headed by Our Conor, trained by Dessie Hughes, and Diakali, who is one of seven engaged for Willie Mullins.

More in this section

IE_180_logo
Price info

Subscribe to unlock unlimited digital access.
Cancel anytime.

Terms and conditions apply

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox