Hurricane kicks up a storm

Hurricane Fly is just 7-2 with Cashmans for the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle next spring after registering another Grade One prize at Leopardstown.

Hurricane Fly is just 7-2 with Cashmans for the Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle next spring after registering another Grade One prize at Leopardstown.

Willie Mullins’ youngster added the Future Champions Novice Hurdle to his haul just weeks after winning the Royal Bond.

Cashmans made the boldest move, while Boylesports quote 6-1 about the same race.

William Hill offer 6s about his chance in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

The even-money favourite was toying with his rivals rounding the bend and scooted away when allowed, with Paul Townend only having to nudge out the four-year-old to come 10 lengths clear of Go Native.

Mullins said: “He looks a serious machine, and I hope he can keep improving and that this isn’t the top.

“He has won on two and a half miles on heavy ground and two miles on good so has got it all.

“He will be entered in the Supreme and the Ballymore at Cheltenham. I also have Cousin Vinny, Mikael D’Haguenet and Quiscover Fontaine so will have to sit down and make a plan for them all in the new year.”

Mullins completed a short-priced double as point-to-point winner Quel Esprit easily landed odds of 4-5 on his debut in the Paddy Power Christmas Bumper Flat Race.

The grey is now 10-1 second favourite with Cashmans for the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

Mullins added: “He’ll certainly be on the bus for Cheltenham.”

Big Zeb signed off last season with a top-flight success, and made a belated return this winter for another Grade One win in the Paddy Power Dial-A-bet Chase.

Colm Murphy’s seven-year-old claimed Thyne Again’s scalp on the latter occasion, and the pair were set to again fight out the finish until Big Zeb pulled clear well before the final fence.

Matt O’Connor eased the 5-1 shot over the jump, and although his mount started to tire on his first start for 247 days he held on well for a half-length verdict over Watson Lake.

Murphy said: “We have had a clear run with him and he is a different horse to last year.

“He’s likely to have one more run and then go to Cheltenham, where he will be entered in the Queen Mother and the Ryanair Chases.”

William Hill gave the winner a 40-1 quote for the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase, and also offer 20-1 for the Ryanair.

The fiercely-competitive Paddy Power Handicap Chase turned into a family affair as trainer Seamus Fahey gave his son James the leg-up aboard Wheresben for a surprise 33-1 victory.

Fahey snr said: “He is a spring horse and doesn’t usually start showing his form until this time of year.

“I thought we had a hell of a lot to do down the back, but turning in I knew we would be placed.”

Jessica Harrington’s Out Voted earned a 25-1 quote for the Triumph Hurdle from Victor Chandler and Cashmans after getting off the mark at the first attempt in the 3-Y-O Hurdle.

Paul Carberry executed a fine waiting ride aboard Noel Meade’s 9-10 favourite Realt Dubh in the Maiden Hurdle, while Sam Thomas picked up a spare winning mount in the Handicap Hurdle aboard Edward O’Grady’s Rocco’s Hall (13-2).

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