Hurricane Fly can cement his position near the top of the Champion Hurdle market by landing the Grade 1 Istabraq Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown this afternoon.
His performances last season were essentially disappointing, by the horse’s very high standards, but he came back in good heart in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown last month. All the old style, speed and swagger seemed to have returned, as he raced to the final flight with Go Native.
The latter crashed at the obstacle, when trying to mount a challenge, and Hurricane Fly was left clear to beat Captain Cee Bee by 12 lengths.
Hopefully, he will give further evidence now that he is at least as good as ever and nothing less than a comprehensive success will suffice.
Willie Mullins trains Hurricane Fly and can also take the Grade 3 ITBA Fillies Scheme EBF Mares’ Hurdle with the progressive Zuzka.
She ran the race of her young life in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse, finishing a length and a half and a length third behind Jezki and Champagne Fever.
That is seriously good form, considering the manner in which Jezki scored here on Thursday.
The nap vote falls on Henry de Bromhead’s Sizing Gold in the Ryans’ Cleaning Maiden Hurdle.
He failed to match strides with Seefood at Fairyhouse and Don Cossack at Navan, but this represents a much easier test.
Jim Culloty’s Lord Windermere gets the nod in the Ballymaloe Country Relish Beginners Chase.
He has run two good races over fences so far, second to Dylan Ross at Navan and to Mikael d’Haguenet at Punchestown.
The Thorntons’ Recycling Bumper is a cracking contest, with the vote going to Dessie Hughes’ Somethingwonderful.
Reportedly well-regarded, he overcame a farcically slow pace to beat Fickle Fortune by half a length at Galway.
At Limerick (8am inspection) Sean O’Brien’s Caoimhe’s Delight, a creditable second to Oscars Joy at Fairyhouse, can take the Online Booking Mares’ Maiden Hurdle.
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