Horses To Follow » Mick Jazz

Mick Jazz

Mick Jazz did really well to beat Cilaos Emery in the listed novices’ hurdle that opened proceedings at Punchestown last Sunday.

Always travelling well for Jack Kennedy behind a decent pace, Gordon Elliott’s horse moved up nicely in behind Cilaos Emery after the second last flight as his rival went on. It looked like the leader had his measure on the run to the final flight, but he picked up impressively on the near side for Kennedy to just get up and beat his rival by a neck.

The first two both put up fine performances, they pulled clear of the promising Sire Du Berlais in third and the clocked a good time, 0.06secs/furlong slower than Racing Post par. Cilaos Emery had been high in the betting for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle after winning impressively at Navan in December on his hurdling debut, he probably set a fair standard here, and Mick Jazz beat him on merit.

Mick Jazz himself is a talented young hurdler. Strange for a horse who was sent off as joint favourite for the Greatwood Hurdle on his only run last season, he is a third-season novice this term. Moving from Harry Fry to Gordon Elliott for the start of this term, he got off the mark at Clonmel in October on his first run for Elliott. A close-up second behind the enigmatic Labaik in the Grade 3 For Auction Hurdle at Navan next time, he ran better than his finishing position in third place suggests in a good handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse on Hatton’s Grace Hurdle weekend. He missed the big Coral Hurdle at Leopardstown after that, for which he was high in the ante post betting, but he proved here that he continues to progress.

The handicapper has raised him by 8lb to a mark of 142 for this, but that is a mark that should still be within range, if connections choose to go down that route. He does hold an entry in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, but Elliott said after the race that the County Hurdle is more likely at Cheltenham, and that makes sense. The fast pace that big two-mile handicap hurdles usually generate suits the Blue Bresil gelding’s strong-travelling style of racing.

5th February 2017