CHELTENHAM: Weathering the perfect storm

Willie Mullins may be Ireland’s most successful Cheltenham trainer but respect was in short supply as he prepared his feisty champion hurdler Hurricane Fly for yesterday’s renewal.

The hurricane that created the perfect storm became the first horse to regain the Champion Hurdle in 38 years as he showed substantial guts to go with his undoubted class at Cheltenham.

But the horse — “a fractious individual”, according to Mullins — gave the trainer a nasty shot in the rear end ahead of racing, leaving the Carlow handler sore but not sorry.

With Champagne Fever taking the Supreme Novices Hurdle, and Quevega making it five Mares’ Hurdles in a row, Mullins became the Irish trainer with most winners at the festival, passing Tom Dreaper’s mark of 26 on a day that he admitted would be “impossible to repeat”.

But of Hurricane Fly, he also revealed: “He’s like a colt, really. I gave him a final drink this morning. I never turn my back on him but I let my guard down and, put it this way, I’ll only be able to use one side of a bar stool tonight. It drew blood.

“He’s always up to something, but aggressiveness is part of his make-up.”

It was also a dream first day for Ruby Walsh followers with the 27/1 treble and our racing correspondent Pat Keane, who pointed punters the way of a four-timer.


As Foo Fighters get ready to rock Dublin, Ed Power traces Dave Grohl’s journey from the wreckage of Nirvana to fronting another of the biggest rock bands on the planet. It’s a tale that also has a surprising Irish twistDavid Grohl: Playing through the pain ahead of Dublin gig

If you can fill a brown bin you can fill a compost heap, says Fiann Ó NualláinNo need to get in a heap about seasonal composting

Whether zipping through the air at 160kph, bouncing in a speedboat at 40 knots, or exploring the dream-like Italianate village of Portmeirion, North Wales is a revelation, and just a short ferry trip away.A weekend zipping through Wales

Kya deLongchamps says the top 1960s sideboards are as good an investment as the best of GeorgianWhy 1960s sideboards are as good an investment as the best of Georgian

More From The Irish Examiner