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Berry bullish on Ryanair Hurdle hopes

December 29, 2014 08:44:14 UK

Connections have said there is no reason why Jezki cannot run a big race in the Ryanair Hurdle and turn the tables again on Hurricane Fly.

The big two will clash again in Monday’s Grade 1 event at Leopardstown to bring down the curtain on the four-day Christmas Festival.

Jezki has been beaten three times in his last five races by long-standing rival Hurricane Fly – with the current standing at three to two in favour of the Willie Mullins representative – including in the same showpiece race 12 months ago and in the Morgiana last time.

However, Barry Geraghty steered the Jessica Harrington-trained six-year-old to a commanding victory over Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, said he was expecting another epic battle between the two stalwarts and was bullish about Jezki’s chances of ending the calendar year with a win.

He told reporters: “We’re looking forward to it. Hurricane Fly is a great horse and is very good round Leopardstown. The ground looks ideal for him and he’ll be very hard to beat. Jezki’s in good form and it will be an exciting race.”

Mullins also has second string Arctic Fire among the seven runners, as well as the Tom Mullins-trained Alderwood and Plinth from the Aidan O’Brien stable, while Gordon Elliott brings in Triumph Hurdle hero Tiger Roll and Pat Shanahan sends out King Of The Picts.

Jezki is currently priced 2.37 in the win and each-way betting and Hurricane Fly is quoted 1.72 in the same market.

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