Hurricane Fly looks set to enjoy a well-earned summer break following his impressive victory on the opening day of the Punchestown Festival.
Willie Mullins’ charge was forced to miss Cheltenham due to a splint problem, but he bounced back in style as he strolled home by seven lengths from stablemate Kempes in the Evening Herald Champion Novice Hurdle.
The five-year-old had shown smart form on the level in France, winning at Listed level, and Mullins was considering a summer Flat campaign.
However, Hurricane Fly’s convincing triumph in the hands of Ruby Walsh has prompted Mullins to re-evaluate his options.
“I think we will concentrate on Cheltenham and the Champion Hurdle next year, and I might just put him away now,” he said.
“There wasn’t much room coming to the last (hurdle) and Ruby had to push his way out a bit, but he’s got too many gears.
“I’m not sure, (with) the way he is bred, if he has done all his improving.
“He certainly seemed to have improved when we gave that little break to get over his splint.
“I couldn’t believe how well he worked (before Punchestown). Coming back off a troubled preparation like that we were bit worried if he would be right, but he has come back better than he ever was before.”
Hurricane Fly is as low as 5-2 with Coral for next year’s Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle at the Festival.