Hurricane Fly Thrills Leopardstown
Hurricane Fly maintained his unbeaten record at Leopardstown, when getting the better of regular rival, Jezki, in a thrilling renewal of the Ryanair Hurdle.
The Willie Mullins veteran, who will turn eleven on Thursday, captured his twenty-first Grade 1 win in enthralling fashion jumping the last alongside, Jezki, before digging deep to score by half a length. It was a tactical affair as always, Walsh content to track Tony McCoy who was aboard his rival, Jezki. They eye-balled each other from the back of the last hurdle and it was ‘The Fly’ who came out on top.
Trainer Mullins said after the race, “There is a fantastic atmosphere here and it was a fantastic race just to watch.”
“Coming to the final flight Fly always gets a good jump but Jezki got a fantastic one as well. When he got over the last he put his ears back and no horse I’ve ever seen can battle like him.”
Jockey, Ruby Walsh was as good as ever aboard the dual Champion Hurdle winner and he commented, “He landed on the first hurdle. It was a really good race, they were building the pace down the back and it became a test of stamina. He has a heart as big as a lion. He dug in, he’s a little terrier.
“You have to commend Willie, Gail Carlisle and Paul Townend to have him at the peak of his powers for so long. There’s a hell of a lot of work goes on with him at home.
“It takes two horses to make a race and Jezki turned up. Irish racegoers appreciate a good horse.”
Paddy Power left both horses unchanged in the betting for March’s, Champion Hurdle, Jezki a 6/1 shot and Hurricane Fly available at 12/1.
Champion trainer, Willie Mullins landed a Grade 1 double, as later on the card, Don Poli, in the colours of Gigginstown House Stud and ridden by Bryan Cooper, triumphed in the Topaz Novice Chase. It was billed as one of the races of the week and it didn’t disappoint. Lots Of Memories set out to insure it was a true test of stamina and when he faded entering the straight it was left to Don Poli and Apache Stronghold to do battle.
Paul Carberry’s mount was the quicker away from the last, but Don Poli battled gamely under Cooper and stayed on strongly to win going away by three lengths.
Willie Mullins said, “He’s just some bus to ride. Every fences its 1-2-3 pop and you can pick your spot with him. He’s a lovely horse with lots of ability.” “He could be anything. He’s improving all the time and could be a Gold Cup horse”
It was Cooper’s fourth Grade 1 win of the week and he was full of praise for his mount, “He’s very good. He probably got me out of trouble at the last. I was happy the whole way and he never made a mistake”, commented the jockey.
“He wasn’t doing much in front. When Paul got to me I knew within two strides he would go on and win the race. He’s top-class.”
The Grade 3 mares hurdle went the way of the Robert Tyner trained, Carrigmoorna Rock in impressive fashion. Philip Enright sent her on going to the last flight and she soon skipped clear of her rivals going on to secure a cosy five-and-a-half length victory over Keppols Queen.
Tyner commented, “She was very impressive. We were looking forward to stepping up to two-and-a-half. I don’t know where we’ll go next.”
“There is a chance she could go back to England but I have yet to go through the program. She might have one more run before Cheltenham.”
It was also a successful day for Rosewell trainer, Dermot Weld, who secured a double courtesy of Windsor Park and Vigil.
Signup to our RSS feed