THERE doesn't seem to be any logical reason why one would oppose Hurricane Fly in this afternoon's Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.
He was superb when winning the race twelve months ago, stays much further than this extended two miles and his jumping is quick and accurate. Last year he powered home from Peddlers Cross and Oscar Whisky and both of those horses now have their sights set on other targets at the festival.
Hurricane Fly has ten Grade 1's to his credit and has won his last seven races. Willie Mullins waited for most of the campaign for the eight-year-old to come right, producing him to make a somewhat belated return in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in late January.
It could hardly have gone any better, as Hurricane Fly never left second gear to beat Oscars Well by six and a half lengths.
Former winner Binocular hinted he is far from a spent force when scoring at Wincanton and is entitled to respect, along with the Paul Nicholls pair, Zarkandar and Rock On Ruby.
Oscars Well, who would have won the Neptune Hurdle at the meeting last year, but for blundering badly at the final flight, also has a life.
In theory he has no chance against Hurricane Fly, but is capable of finding substantial improvement on this surface.
Hurricane Fly, however, has been giving connections every cause for optimism in his work of late and it will be disappointing should he fail to deliver.
Ruby Walsh partners Hurricane Fly and he and Mullins have to be fancied to complete a double with Quevega in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle.
She has won the race for the last three years and looks far superior to the opposition. Quevega will be having her first outing of the season, but history tells us that is of no concern whatsoever.
She returned from last year's festival to slam Mourad at Punchestown and if the Quevega we all know turns up now then there can only be one result.
Hurricane Fly and Quevega are going to go off at tight prices, so a hopeful nap vote falls on Galileo's Choice in the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
A really smart horse on the level, he will relish the good ground and had the ideal preparation when easily taking a modest contest at Fairyhouse.
Sprinter Sacre, unbeaten in three races over fences and who has a massive reputation, is the choice in the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved