Jezki repeats Cheltenham win over Hurricane Fly at Punchestown
Last updated on .From the section Horse Racing
Jezki repeated his Cheltenham victory over Hurricane Fly as AP McCoy rode the six-year-old to success in the Champion Hurdle at Punchestown on Friday.
The Jessica Harrington-trained gelding, who went off the 4-5 favourite, won by four lengths to deny Hurricane Fly a fifth straight win in the race.
McCoy was back on board after Barry Geraghty took the ride at Cheltenham.
The 19-time champion said: "He felt better than I've ever felt him. He felt like a real Champion Hurdle horse."
After starting strongly, McCoy quickened the pace further from half a mile out and Ruby Walsh could never draw level on Hurricane Fly, a 19-time Group One winner.
The victory was a sixth success in two days at Punchestown for Harrington, whose husband Johnny died last month.
She said: "It's been absolutely fantastic. To have three winners on Thursday and then another three is beyond my wildest dreams."
Successful owner JP McManus added: "It's a great day and it will be a memorable one."
Willie Mullins, Hurricane Fly's trainer, offered "no excuses" for the 10-year-old, who he indicated would remain in training, and described Jezki as a "worthy champion".
Mullins entered the winners' enclosure when Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Vautour justified favouritism in the Champion Novice.
Sent off the 1-3 favourite, the five-year-old beat Apache Stronghold by three and a half lengths.
Mullins said: "That certainly wasn't anything like his Cheltenham form. He wasn't right at the beginning of the week so had a few easy days. Maybe everything took its toll."