Istabraq Festival Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m
- (4yo+, 2m, Class 1, 5 runners)
- Winner €55,250 2nd €16,150 3rd €7,650 4th €2,550
- Going: Soft
- Surface: Turf
- Winning time: 3m 56.60s
- Off time: 14:00:15
|1st||2 Hurricane Fly||1/5f|
Captain Cee Bee (IRE) 41
|11||164 11-10||E P Harty||M P Walsh||152||16/1|
Hurricane Fly (IRE) 41
|8||164 11-10||W P Mullins||R Walsh||173||1/5f|
Thousand Stars (FR) 83
|8||164 11-10||W P Mullins||P Townend||163||10/1|
Tilabay (IRE) 17
|7||164 11-10||S Buggy||P Carberry||113||100/1|
Unaccompanied (IRE) 55
|5||157 11-3||D K Weld||D N Russell||155||6/1|
||4||11-0||D K Weld||P Townend||10/3|
Unaccompanied and Thousand Stars had a real battle in this last year with the former's allowance enabling her to come out just on top. Dermot Weld's mare had a recent run on the Flat to put her straight for this while the runner-up did brilliantly to score twice in France during the summer, though over much longer trips and he's always been in the shadow of his illustrious stablemate HURRICANE FLY. The winner of 14 of his 17 starts over timber, Willie Mullins' charge lost his Champion Hurdle crown in March but has bounced back in no uncertain terms, looking as good as ever when beating Captain Cee Bee 12 length in the Morgiana Hurdle last month. It will be a shock if he's beaten here and should gain victory number 15.
Hurricane Fly (IRE) 2-5fav (11-10) Made all, ridden before last, 1 length up when left clear last, eased home run-in, won at Punchestown 2m hdl G1 (1) hvy in Nov beating Captain Cee Bee (11-10) by 12l, 3 ran.
Unaccompanied (IRE) 11-4 (11-1) Held up in 4th, in touch approaching 2 out, no extra entering straight and soon weakened, 4th of 5, 39l behind Hurricane Fly (11-10) at Leopardstown 2m hdl G1 (1) sft in Jan.
Thousand Stars (FR) 7-2 (11-12) Chased leader in 2nd, 4th 3 out, soon pushed along in 5th, no impression before straight, kept on one pace, 4th of 9, 20l behind Captain Cee Bee (11-7) at Tipperary 2m hdl G2 (1) hvy in Oct.
Captain Cee Bee (IRE) 12-1 (11-10) Settled 3rd, ridden and no impression entering straight, left moderate 2nd last, 2nd of 3, 12l behind Hurricane Fly (11-10) at Punchestown 2m hdl G1 (1) hvy in Nov.
Tilabay (IRE) 7-1 (11-5) 3rd early, 5th 5 out, weakened next, tailed off, 8th of 9, 33l behind Grangeclare Gold (11-0) at Naas 2m 3f hcp hdl gf in Oct '10.