Hurricane Fly holds off pretenders to win Irish Champions Hurdle

Ruby Walsh and his mount answered a lot of questions at Leopardstown this afternoon.

Hurricane Fly and Ruby Walsh are off to the winners' enclosure again.
Hurricane Fly and Ruby Walsh are off to the winners' enclosure again.
Image: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

HURRICANE FLY KEPT up his unbeaten run at Leopardstown as he held off young challenger Our Conor to win the Irish Champions Hurdle.

The victory, which was delivered after a strong burst over the final straight, was Hurricane Fly’s 19th Grade One win.

50/1 outsider Captain Cee Bee led the running up until the second last jump before Our Conor edged in front. Ruby Walsh, on Hurricane Fly, responded but a poor jump at the last looked to have cost the favourite.

With Jezki, ridden by A.P McCoy, trailing and Captain Cee Bee drifting off, it was neck-and-neck until the final seconds of the race. Hurricane Fly, trained by Willie Mullins, powered over the final lengths to confirm his dominance at Leopardstown.

Walsh told RTÉ, “He has pure stamina, he’s a great jumper, he has everything you need. And we you really need it, he has bundles of guts to go with it.”

Addressing the shaky jump at the last, Walsh added, “Thank God he didn’t come where I wanted him or he would’ve landed in the middle of [the jump]. He landed running, though, and once you land running you have a chance.”

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Patrick McCarry

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