Ruby Walsh & Hurricane Fly on their way to victory
©Healy Racing Photos
By Donal Murphy
Hurricane Fly recorded his thirteenth Grade 1 success as he took the feature race at Leopardstown this afternoon, the Istabraq Festival Hurdle.
The Willie Mullins trained 8yo son of Montjeu was sent off the 1/5 favourite for the two mile contest and he didn’t let down his supporters as he came home an easy seven length winner.
Having tracked Thousand Stars for much of the race he hit the front entering the straight and he quickened clear the before the last to come home an easy winner.
The Dermot Weld trained Unaccompanied kept on for second at 6/1 under Davy Russell while Thousand Stars was a further half a length back in third under Paul Townend at 10/1.
Willie Mullins said afterwards: "He slotted in behind the pace and just quickened when he wanted to. He will come back here for the Irish Champion Hurdle and I would imagine Thousand Stars will be back here for that race as well.
"With age and racingHurricane Fly seems to be settling better. Ruby was happy with him throughout the race and he also seems to be more relaxed around the parade ring.
"If we can get him to Cheltenham in the same form he is in now, I think he has a good chance."
Cheltenham Champion Hurdle Bookmaker Reaction;
Boylesports:Hurricane Fly was 5/1 now 4/1 joint favourite with Darlan
Ladbrokes:Hurricane Fly was 5/1 now 7/2. Daralan 3/1 favourite
Paddy Powers:Hurricane Fly was 5/1 now 7/2 favourite. Daralan 4/1
Stan James:Hurricane Fly was 5/1 now 9/2. Daralan 7/2 favourite
(Additional reporting by Alan Magee)