Her husband Johnny died last month but the likeable trainer has had little time to mourn. She has been busy in the winners’ enclosure.
On Friday her Jezki topped off a remarkable week by beating Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle at Punchestown.
She said Friday: “It’s been absolutely fantastic these last two days, unbelievable. To have three winners on Thursday and then another three is beyond my wildest dreams. I think he (Johnny) is doing a lot of the pushing. All the staff in the yard have done a marvellous job.
“If Jezki was beaten here people would say the Champion Hurdle was a fluke, but he came here and won again, which was fantastic.
“He was very good after Cheltenham and had a good prep for this race. I was happy coming in and everything went according to plan. I just let AP do what he wanted. He’s the man in the saddle and is the best in the world, so why give him a plan.
“With today being a buzzy day, with the crowd and everything, the hood definitely helped him. He’s only six, a young horse, so he’ll stay hurdling for the moment. I would imagine we’ll go the same route next year, but it’s a long way off. I’m not sure I saw much of the race, I had my eyes closed for most of it!”
Jezki’s win was a classic case of a trainer being patient with a horse. Of knowing her horse and knowing what he was capable of.
She says: “If you wait for something long enough you’ll get it. The worst thing you can do is rush it. Putting horses under pressure to find out if they are the real deal is the worst thing you can do.”
In 24 hours alone she trained six winners. Macnicholson (10/1), Jetson (20/1), High Stratos (14/1), Operating (12/1), Burn and Turn (7/1) and Jezki (4/5).
Now fellow punters: Just imagine if we had followed Jessica Harrington horses on May 1st and 2nd. What returns!
She said: “He’s become much more relaxed since last summer. He’s not going to do things spectacularly any more. He has strengthened up a lot and I couldn’t be happier with him.
“Stamina has never been an issue with his relations. Jetson stays three miles well, Jenari got two and a half miles no problem and Jered got more than two miles so I don’t think it’s an issue. Jezki is so much more relaxed now.”
And the trainer was relaxed about taking on the wonderful Willie Mullins trained horse Hurricane Fly. Jessica Harrington is ever respectful of the opposition.
She said: “You can’t ever be afraid of one of Willie’s. You’ve got to take them on. They’re still only horses and they can all make mistakes. Willie makes me want to try harder – try harder to find that really good one to take him on.”
And take Mullins on she did. Jezki held off Hurricane Fly and nobody was more delighted for Harrington than jockey Tony McCoy.
He said: “It’s great for Jessie, she’s had such a great week after such a tough time recently. It was a great training performance.
“To be honest, he felt better than I’ve ever felt him. Sometimes they get confidence from winning. It wasn’t ideal (making the running). He’s a tendency to jump a bit left and it’s more exaggerated when he’s in front. Today he felt like a real Champion Hurdle horse.”
It has been a fabulous week of winning for the Harrington stable, but she continues to look for more top quality thoroughbreds.
She says: “We’re down in numbers but we’ve made up for that in quality. Given the choice I’d prefer to have a few nice ones rather than a packed yard but not being sure whether you like any of them.
“Having been lucky enough to have Moscow Flyer you realise one like him might come along only once in a lifetime. It’s only when I look back that I appreciate just how good Moscow Flyer was. We took it for granted he went out there and won races, came back, stayed sound and went out and won more races.”
And it’s horses like Moscow Flyer and Jezki, and weeks like the last one, that keep Jessica Harrington going. It has been a tough few weeks for her away from a racecourse. But the racing and the winners have helped to lift her mood and keep her focussed.