TRAINER Jessica Harrington yesterday revealed that JP McManus' latest high profile acquisition Jezki will not run again until carrying the hopes of many punters and his new owner into the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham.
The four-time winning hurdler, who has been victorious in two Grade Ones on his last two starts, will go straight for the opening race of the Festival without another run as the Kildare-based trainer has opted against a tilt at the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown later this month.
Harrington said yesterday: "He will be a better horse on better ground. I know it's down that he might run in the Deloitte, but I think that's unlikely. He will probably go straight to Cheltenham."
Jezki was a two-time bumper winner last season as a four-year-old before finishing eighth behind Champagne Fever in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival and the trainer added: "I haven't really talked to Frank Berry (racing manager to JP McManus) yet, but the horse was always going to have a bit of a break now and we're basically going to train him for Cheltenham."
Champagne Fever, who finished second behind Jezki in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse but failed to run up to form at Naas in the Slaney Hurdle last weekend, is reported to be recovering well according to trainer Willie Mullins.
The dual Champion Bumper hero was found to be suffering from a respiratory tract infection when trailing in third behind impressive winner Rule The World. Yesterday Mullins said: "We treated him and he is back being ridden out every morning, although he is not yet showing the strutting cock-of-the-walk attitude he usually displays. Hopefully, he'll return to action before long."
Mullins also revealed that although disappointed at the time, Boston Bob has come out of his dogged win at Navan in good shape and is a possible runner at Thurles on Thursday.
The champion trainer has Boston Bob, Grade One runner-up Aupcharlie and the frustrating Mikael D'Haguenet all entered in the WT O'Grady Memorial Novice Chase, although he hopes to keep them separated, if possible, for their next runs.
Also at Thurles, Tarla could represent the yard in the lucrative Grade Two Mares Novice Chase after taking a crashing fall at Cork before Christmas.
The high-class seven-year-old appeared set to compete her hat-trick and add a second win over fences when taking a horrible-looking fall at the last in Grade Three company.
Last year's winner, Apt Approach, is one of four Mullins entries in the Kinloch Brae at Thurles which also features Paul Nolan's Joncol, the Robbie Hennessy-trained Rubi Light and the Gigginstown-owned quartet of Bog Warrior, Quito De La Roque, Rathlin and Roi Du Mee.
Mullins said: "All of mine act on the track, as Apt Approach won the race last year, Call The Police and Bishopsfurze have also won around there and Blazing Tempo has been placed at Thurles. We'll decide what runs over the next few days."