RUBY WALSH: Hurricane ready to Fly

It was fantastic to win a third Lexus at Leopardstown yesterday on Tidal Bay, to go with previous victories on Rince Ri and Denman.

He is a very easy horse to ride, all you have to do is wait and wait and then see if you can get the timing right. Basically, you just ride him the same every day.

This was a true run race and that suited me. I thought we had a chance heading to the last, but he landed flat and then flew.

I know Paul Nicholls said afterwards that the Gold Cup was his likely target, but I'm not really in favour of that. He made a little mistake four out and again fiddled the last and that wouldn't be good enough in the Gold Cup.

I feel the Stayers' Hurdle should be next. Jumping is not as important in that, as Big Buck's often proved in the past.

After my treble yesterday, today has a lot to live up to but I'm really looking forward to riding Hurricane Fly in the Istabraq.

He had a very good comeback run in Punchestown, where he led Go Native to the last, where that one fell - it's a pity he's not here to contest it again.

Hurricane Fly is really coming back to himself, he's in great form and hopefully he can progress on to the form he showed when he won the Champion Hurdle.

Obviously Unaccompanied won the race last year when she beat Thousand Stars, who is having his first run since disappointing in Tipperary back in October. They're both very good horses on their day and it's a decent race but I'm very happy with the way Hurricane Fly has been going and I'm confident he can win.

I don't' know much about my mount in the first, Dick Dundee. Barry Connell owns him and his trainer, Paul Nolan, said he's going very well. He won a point to point some time ago and I'm told he's in good form. He'll love the trip and I think he'd have a chance.

I ride Marasonnien in the Beginners' Chase. He was probably disappointing on his first run in Navan but he's been working well at home and I think he's a very good horse.

He took a couple of runs to come to hand last year but when he did he was very good. He jumped out to his right at Navan, which was unlike him, and he'll have to run a bit straighter if he's to win today. But we think he's a fair horse and we hope he can put his Navan disappointment behind him.

Patrick (Mullins) is riding Zuzka and I ride Glens Melody in the mares' race. Zuzka finished third behind Jezki and Champagne Fever at Fairyhouse - that's a cracking run, her best to date, and it got a real boost when Jezki won the Future Champions Novices' Hurdle earlier in the week.

But Glens Melody won three bumpers and was a winner last time out over hurdles. She's only a four-year-old but she's a very good filly too and she has only 10-9 on her back. There's probably not a lot between Willie's two and I'm happy enough with the one I'm on.

I ride Darroun in the Pertemps Qualifier. He's only a four-year-old but I think he's crying out for this sort of trip. He was going to go chasing but Willie decided to let him take his chance over hurdles here.

He's been in fine form at home and has a good each-way chance but these Pertemps Qualifers are a real minefield for punters. Apt Approach was a good winner over hurdles in Fairyhouse a few weeks back. He'll like the trip too.

In the bumper, Willie runs Outlander - a Gigginstown horse who won well on his debut. He works very well and I'd expect him to run a big race.

Tomorrow will be a rarity for me - I have a Sunday off. It's just the way Christmas falls, but I'm back in action at Punchestown on Monday and then I think Unioniste is going to run in the Dipper Novice Chase at Cheltenham on New Year's Day so I'm looking forward to riding him. Business as usual in 2013.


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