Jetson downs Quevega in World Series shock
The Jessica Harrington trained Jetson caused the biggest shock of this year’s Punchestown Festival, denying superstar mare Quevega a fifth straight victory in the Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle. The 20/1 shot was the beneficiary of a brilliantly tactical ride from Davy Russell to down the Willie Mullins trained veteran, with the pair quickening the pace at just the right moment as the field turned for home.
Up to now Jetson, a half brother to Champion Hurdle winner and stablemate Jezki, had been a decent handicapper for Harrington and co and punters could be forgiven for thinking that the 9yo would be out of his depth at the highest level. He had however competed with merit in competitive races at both Cheltenham and Aintree earlier in the Season and those efforts obviously brought the son of Oscar on a substantial amount, as proved by today’s performance.
Quevega, sent off a well supported 9/10 favourite, had not tasted defeat since 2009 and did not give up that winning run easily, as she showed all of her old battling spirit, just failing to reel in the winner after the last flight and eventually going down by just 1 1/4 lengths.
The now 10yo mare, who had amazingly won her sixth straight Grade 2 OLBG Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, may well have run her last race in the 3 mile contest, with Willie Mullins and owner Ger Fox set to discuss her future in the next few days.
“I’ve just spoke to the owner and we are not going to go anywhere else with her,” Mullins said on ATR. “We will start to discuss her next career as a mare.”
“We will never replace her and she will leave a huge gap in our yard. She has finished in one piece and has had a tremendous career.”
Of the winner Russell said: “Jessica had him in great order. I got a great spin off him. To be fair, the last two days Paddy Kennedy [work rider] has been telling me he’s in the form of his life.
“They were quietly confident he’d run well – obviously they didn’t think he was good enough to beat the filly, but he’d be involved.”
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