Jezki wins Champions Hurdle at Cheltenham

CHELTENHAM, England (AP) Jezki capitalized on a disappointing run by defending champion Hurricane Fly to win the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday in a race marred by the death of a horse.

Ridden by Barry Geraghty, Jezki (9-1) held off My Tent or Yours (3-1) in a sprint to the line in the signature race on day one of the jumps meeting.

Organizers said Our Conor, who fell as he attempted to jump a hurdle midway through the race, was destroyed because of a serious back injury after receiving extensive treatment by doctors.

Ruby Walsh made up for his failure on Hurricane Fly by riding Quevega (8-11 favorite) to a sixth straight win in the Mares’ Hurdle, making her the first horse in the history of the Cheltenham Festival to win the same race six times.

Walsh held up six fingers as he returned to the paddock to cheers from fans. He started the four-day festival with a victory on Vautour, with his double extending his record number of winners at Cheltenham to 40.

Hurricane Fly was looking to become the sixth horse to win the Champions Hurdle three times, but faded after being close to the leaders throughout and placed fourth.

The New One (10-3) finished third, despite being impeded by Our Conor’s fall.

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