• Racing/
  • Hurricane Fly Makes Festival Headlines

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
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 3m 56.60s
  • Off time: 14:00:15
  • Last Updated: December 29 2012, 17:04 GMT

Hurricane Fly comfortably regained his crown in the Istabraq Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Hurricane Fly: Ran out an easy winner
Hurricane Fly: Ran out an easy winner

Injury had prevented Willie Mullins' star from defending his title in this race 12 months ago and Unaccompanied took full advantage of his absence.

Dermot Weld's mare was no match for the top-class eight year old, however, and he barely turned a hair in recording his fifteenth success over hurdles from just 18 starts.

Stablemate Thousand Stars ensured that this was run at a proper gallop and Ruby Walsh settled the 1/5 favourite in second with Unaccompanied in third.

Hurricane Fly eased to the front in the straight, readily leaving his rivals behind to win a thirteenth Grade One contest.

"We're delighted with that, not just with the win but by the way he settled," said Mullins.

"He was easier to lead around the ring beforehand and Ruby said he settled beautifully throughout the race.

"He's a much more settled horse all round this year, with age and racing. He will come back here for the Irish Champion Hurdle before going to Cheltenham.

"If we can get him back to Cheltenham in the same form that he's in now, he'll have a very good chance."

Sky Bet were sufficiently impressed to cut the veteran campaigner to 7/2 from 5s for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

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