Hurricane Fly ‘stronger than ever’, says Willie Mullins
Trainer expects Quevega and Sir Des Champs to follow similar programs to last year
Willie Mullins (right) and Ruby Walsh after Hurricane Fly won The Rabobank Champion Hurdle at Punchestown in April thisb year. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
The remarkable nine-year-old enjoyed an unbeaten five-race campaign last term and will follow the same path this season.
The trainer said: “Hurricane Fly has come back in from grass, I think, much stronger than he ever has before which might mean it could take him longer to get fully fit - but I’m hoping that when he is fit, he’s going to retain all that strength and be at least as good as he was over the last couple of years.
“We hope to follow the same path as we did last year, starting off with the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown and then hopefully on to the Istabraq Festival Hurdle, the BHP Insurances Irish Champion Hurdle followed by the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and finally, the Rabobank at Punchestown. It worked well last year so there is no need to change the plan.”
Hurricane Fly has already amassed an amazing 16 Grade One victories, equalling the world record held by Kauto Star and the American flat superstar, John Henry.
“With normal luck and if we can keep him sound, Hurricane Fly should be in a position to set his own all-time Grade One winning world record this season,” said Mullins.
Four-time Grade One winner Quevega is another record-equalling member of the Closutton academy who will seek to set her own record at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.
Last season she equalled the immortal Golden Miller’s record of five straight Festival wins, which he completed in 1936.
Quevega looks set to follow the same successful route for a fifth consecutive season, making her seasonal debut in the OLBG David Nicholson Mares Hurdle next March, followed by the Grade One Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Punchestown.
“Quevega is back in pre-training and will come in to me around November 1st. I think we’ll go with the same plan as last year,” he told sportinglife.com.
“Sir Des Champs is another horse that has come in great after summer grazing at his owners farm. I imagine we will follow the same plan - we started off in the John Durkan last year. Whether we do this year or not, I’m not sure but I think I’m very happy to keep with the plan as it worked last season. I haven’t really discussed it with the owners yet, but I think I’m happy to do that.”