Hurricane Fly’s Return To Winning Ways At Punchestown Should Not Go Unnoticed
April 30, 2012 Leave a comment
Not since Comedy Of Errors in 1975 has a horse come back to regain the Champion Hurdle but Hurricane Fly is already the favourite to win the 2013 Champion Hurdle and claim the throne he won in 2011 and then lost to Rock On Ruby this year.
Hurricane Fly’s defeat was his first after notching up seven straight Grade 1 wins, although only one of those came this season after he had early season difficulties which delayed his re-appearance. It was potentially the lack of another run that stifled his effort this year, but that said he looked imperious when he did make his return to the track at Leopardstown at the end of January where he retained his Irish Champion Hurdler crown in great style.
It has to be said he looked unbeatable that day which is just one of the reasons why he went off in this year’s Champion Hurdle as the 4/6 odds on favourite. Trainer, Willie Mullins nor jockey Ruby Walsh offered any excuses, believing that he simply had a flat day.
Hurricane Fly bounced back from that Cheltenham disappointment at the Punchestown Festival last week where he landed the Rabobank Champion Hurdle for a third successive year by 2 1/2 lengths to Zaidpour.
Rock On Ruby of course gave trainer, Paul Nicholls a first ever Champion Hurdle win but he failed to build on that effort at the Grand National meeting where he could only manage third by tried over 2m 4f in the Aintree Hurdle and what his plans are for 2013 remain to be seen.
Simonsig, the stylish winner of the Grade 1 Neptune Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival has been given a quote of 10/1 to win the Champion Hurdle in 2013 following yet another exciting performance in the Mersey Novices’ Hurdle but he looks destined to go chasing at some stage in the future and that could be as early as next season which means he may not be the number one challenger to Hurricane Fly.
The Donald McCain trained winner of the Supreme Novices, Cinders And Ashes is another to consider, he looked a hugely progressive sort when winning t the Festival and looks destined for a big future but the record of “Supreme” winners who have gone on to win the Champion Hurdle is atrocious and caution should be exercised as such.
The Nicky Henderson pair of Grandouet and Spirit Son, both of which missed the Festival this year through injury are also worthy of consideration but as it stands, Hurricane Fly looks the long term value in this race and providing he can defy the history books to become the first horse in over 36 years to regain a Champion Hurdle after losing it, the current quote of 6/1 after his Punchestown success looks like cracking value given his performance in Ireland last week would suggest his effort to win the race this year was nothing more than a blip.