HURRICANE FLY LOOKS to have finally got his Cheltenham preparations back on track after delighting trainer Willie Mullins with a piece of work at Leopardstown today.
The 2011 Champion Hurdler has been off the course since last May, surprising form watchers when he wasn’t ready in time to tackle either the Morgiana Hurdle or the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle earlier this season.
The lengthy absence led to some concern about his ability to defend his Cheltenham crown in March, causing his odds for this year’s renewal to drift out as far as 3/1 in some places.
But speaking to AtTheRaces this afternoon, Mullins that he was “absolutely delighted” with the horse’s gallop this morning and targeted the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on 29 January for his seasonal bow.
“Everything went very well,” Mullins said after Hurricane Fly’s 1m5f workout with his stablemates. ”Emmet [Mullins] settled him in behind and he cruised up to the others, and when Emmet gave him a squeeze he shot clear.”
I was absolutely delighted with him, it was just what we wanted to see.