Hurricane Fly Wins Second Champion Hurdle Crown
Hurricane Fly became just the second horse ever to win the Champion Hurdle twice in non-consecutive years and has now earned more prizemoney than any other Irish horse in the history of jumps racing.
Rock on Ruby set the pace early in the race and it quickly became apparent that the winner would come from the lead group of Rock on Ruby, Hurricane Fly, Countrywide Flame, Zarkandar and Grandouet.
In the straight jockey Ruby Walsh made his move on Hurricane Fly and although Rock on Ruby and Countrywide Flame battled on bravely they were no match for the champion hurdler.
Walsh said he was worried during the run but was delighted with the result.
“I can’t say I was overly confident,” Walsh said.
“From the word go he never travelled like he can.
“But he has an unbelievably big heart and he’s as tough as anything.”
Trainer Willie Mullins said the son of Montjeu was a deserving winner.
“We knew he was in good form all year and I thought he was winning all the best trials,” Mullins said.
“All we needed was a bit of luck and he’s got that.
“Since he came back this year he’s been heavier and stronger and after every race and every gallop he’s bounced out of it and taken it in his stride.”
Last year’s winner Rock on Ruby was gallant in defeat and trainer Harry Fry said he was extremely proud of his effort.
“We couldn’t have asked for any more, as always he’s put his all on the line and kept galloping from start to finish,” Fry said.
We were just beaten by a true champion, a better horse on the day.
The Champion Hurdle victory caps off a stellar season for Hurricane Fly who won the Grade 1 Punchestown Morgiana Hurdle and Grade 1 Irish Champion Hurdle in the lead-up to the Cheltenham Festival.
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