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Cheltenham Festival 2011 

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By Billy Blakeman ValueChecker

Hurricane Fly Shows His Champion Hurdle Credentials

Hurricane Fly made an impressive seasonal bow to edge out Solwhit in a thrilling finish to the Bar One Racing Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse. Trainer Willie Mullins had a great haul at the meeting, sending out 3-winners and already looks to have a strong hand for the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Willie Mullins

Willie Mullins

Mullins said: "I thought Solwhit would definitely have a fitness edge on this sort of ground. I was more than surprised that he (Hurricane Fly) was able to come out with a performance like that today. Paul (Townend) got him back for a breather. He pulled too hard for the first mile and three-quarters. Paul pulled him back about the third-last and in behind, got a belly full of air into him and put him back into the race again. There was so much traffic problems coming round the bend, but he had plenty in the tank and pulled his way through.”

Asked about the plan going forwards, Mullins continued: "We will see how he comes out of the race. It's so close to Christmas and Leopardstown's Festival Hurdle. We'll see what happens, but if the races are there we might have to run and then try to get another run into him before Cheltenham. This horse has been unlucky, he's just not got there (Cheltenham) the last two years. I'm just going to go home and think about it. There's probably the Irish Champion Hurdle as well. Those are the two immediate races that come to mind."

Hurricane Fly is now a leading fancy for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.


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