leopardstown 29th Dec
Ruby Walsh & Hurricane Fly on their way to victory
(Healy Racing Photos)
Hurricane Fly was in a league of his own in the Istabraq Festival Hurdle on the final day of Leopardstown's Christmas meeting.
The response was immediate as he sprinted to a lead of several lengths and extended his advantage without Walsh ever asking him a serious question, and he coasted home seven lengths in front of Unaccompanied.
Patrick Mullins broke the record for most winners by an amateur jockey in a calendar year when Zuzka, also trained by his father Willie, stamped her authority on the ITBA Fillies Scheme EBF Mares Hurdle.
The 11-10 market leader swept to the front before the final flight and never looked like being caught, as she passed the post six and a half lengths ahead of Burn And Turn.
Team Mullins followed up when 9-4 favourite Outlander ran out a comfortable winner of the Thornton's Recycling Flat Race.
Lord Windermere broke his duck over fences at the third time of asking in the Ballymaloe Country Relish Beginners Chase.
Tom Doyle brought the 9-4 favourite through to lead at the top of the home straight and although Walsh flew late on Marasonnien, the line came in time for Lord Windermere, who triumphed by a couple of lengths.
Prince Rudi (20-1) confirmed the promise of his recent Fairyhouse second by going one better in the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle qualifier, while Keith Donoghue, who endured misfortune on Harpsy Cord at Limerick earlier in the week, gained some compensation when steering Tarquinius (9-2) to the Martinstown Opportunity Handicap Chase spoils.
Sizing Gold was no match for Don Cossack at Navan but capitalised on the easier assignment of the Ryans Cleaning Maiden Hurdle by justifying 4-6 favouritism.
The excitement, the tension, the anticipation, the thrill of a BIG win - just some of the things that make the Casino a playground to rival the racetrack.