Review leopardstown 29th Dec

Sat 29th Dec 2012, 16:00

photoRuby 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 Willie Mullins-trained 1-5 favourite settled behind pacesetting stablemate Thousand Stars until Ruby Walsh angled him around the grey and sent him about his business entering the straight.

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.

Might Bite To Prove His Worth Next Season

There is not much attention given to national hunt racing in the summer months, by punters or by the media. It is, of course, understandable given that our attention is focused on the flat season: the action at Royal Ascot, the Classics and the rest of the elements that define the summer racing season. Some punters might have a dabble at an ante post bet for Cheltenham next year, but by and large we forget about it until the autumn.