Ruby Walsh has promised that his head will rule his heart when it comes to making a decision on whether to ride Hurricane Fly or Faugheen in the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham on March 10.
Hurricane Fly is a two-time winner of the race and has won a world record 22 Grade One races, while Faugheen is in his first season out of novice company but is a strong favourite with bookmakers to prevail.
Walsh chose Kauto Star over Denman in similar circumstances in the 2008 Gold Cup and had to look on as the latter galloped away from him up the famous hill.
“That was sore” says the Irish Examiner columnist. “There is nothing worse than making the wrong decision. Those decisions could happen again but it wouldn’t be made for sentiment anyway.
“It is just a horse race. It is not life or death. But when you are a professional you still like to be on the right one," he told Pat Keane on Irish Examiner TV.
The weather is likely to be one of the factors Walsh takes into account when he does make his final call, with soft ground certain to suit Hurricane Fly. Whatever way he goes, the Kildare jockey is satisfied that the 11-year-old legend and his seven-year-old stablemate at Willie Mullins’ Closutton yard are shaping up well ahead of next Tuesday’s feature.
“They are both in great form at home. Hurricane, for me, is the form horse at the moment. Faugheen has the potential. We’ll see how they work in the next week or so and we will make a decision then.
“I’m delighted with both of them. Faugheen is working really well, he is a good work horse, so you would be expecting him to. Hurricane Fly is definitely in really good hock at the moment."
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved