Jezki set for Punchestown date

Jessica Harrington’s Jezki remains on course for next month’s Punchestown Festival following his excellent run in defeat in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Jezki set for Punchestown date

The five-year-old was the long-term ante-post favourite for the Festival curtain-raiser, before being usurped at the head of the market by fellow JP McManus-owned runner My Tent Or Yours.

Despite losing his unbeaten record over hurdles, Jezki was far from disgraced in finishing third behind Champagne Fever and My Tent Or Yours and Harrington is looking forward to his next appearance.

“He came home in good form and he’ll probably go to Punchestown for the two-mile novice there, all being well,” said the trainer.

“Fairyhouse is coming up too soon and he’s only a five-year-old, so we want to give him a chance.”

Jezki’s half-brother Jetson also performed admirably at Cheltenham, taking third place in the Pertemps Final.

Harrington said: “He’ll be entered in Fairyhouse but it’s more likely he’ll go to Aintree for the three-mile handicap hurdle there. He could then go to Punchestown for a hurdle race or a novice chase.”

One Harrington inmate for whom plans are unclear is Bostons Angel.

A fine fourth in the Glenfarclas Chase over the cross country course at Cheltenham, he could run in either the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse or the Grand National at Aintree next week.

Harrington said: “There’s been no decision made yet, but we’ll probably decide in the next day or two.

“He ran a very good race at Cheltenham and basically he will go wherever the best ground is. He definitely prefers nicer ground.”

Harrington is also confident Oscars Well is ready to make his presence felt in the Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse on Sunday. The top-class hurdler has won twice from five starts over fences this term and was last seen filling the runner-up spot in January’s Irish Arkle at Leopardstown, when he made a jarring blunder at the final fence.

That form looks solid, with the winner, Benefficient, going on to claim the Jewson Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Harrington hopes the decision to skip Cheltenham with her charge will stand him in good stead this weekend.

“He’s in very good form,” said the County Kildare handler. He worked at the end of last week, I was delighted with him and he’ll work again on Wednesday. If all goes well then he’ll run on Sunday.

“I’m not sure what else is going to turn up but we are going there with a fresh horse and we’re looking forward to it.

“Hopefully he goes there with a big chance.”

Meanwhile Tony McCoy will ride either Sunnyhillboy or Colbert Station in the John Smith’s Grand National after he narrowed down owner JP McManus’s six-strong squad of contenders to two.

McCoy, who won his only National on the McManus-owned Don’t Push It in 2010, now has to decide whether to side with last year’s second Sunnyhillboy or the progressive Colbert Station.

Trained by Jonjo O’Neill, Sunnyhillboy was pulled out of the Cheltenham Gold Cup with a bad scope this month and is 20-1 to go one better than when last year, when he was agonisingly beaten a nose by Neptune Collonges.

Colbert Station, who is trained by Ted Walsh, is 16-1 and showed his wellbeing when winning a handicap hurdle last month. McCoy, who revealed conditions at Aintree will influence his decision, said on Tuesday: “I presume it will be Sunnyhillboy or Colbert Station, but I will definitely not make my mind up until a couple of days before. I want to know what the ground is going to be like and want to keep my options open as long as I possibly can.”

One horse who will not be lining up at Aintree is Beshabar (heat in a front fetlock joint) who was a general 25-1 chance for the race. It is the second year running Tim Vaughan’s challenger has been ruled out of the race.

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