Hurricane Fly tops rival Jezki to take third Morgiana Hurdle
Ruby Walsh ‘tactically very good’ at Punchestown, says Willie Mullins
Hurricane Fly returns to his best to take revenge on current two-mile king Jezki, his conqueror at Cheltenham and Punchestown in the spring. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Seemingly not the force of old at the end of last season, the Willie Mullins-trained 10-year-old returned to his best as he gained revenge on current two-mile king Jezki, his conqueror at Cheltenham and Punchestown in the spring.
Ruby Walsh was happy to sit in third for much of the journey, as prolific mare Little King Robin opened up a big advantage in her usual front-running style, with Jezki in second. The big two eventually loomed large and while a mistake two out could have caused problems for Hurricane Fly (15-8), he was soon back moving with menace.
Picked up on the run-in
A delighted Mullins said: “When we took the rug off him in the parade ring many onlookers felt he was a bit heavy, but his homework suggested he was stronger than last year.
“Ruby was tactically very good. The onus was on the champion [Jezki] to deal with the pace, and it was easier for us to ride our race. It won’t be always that easy through the season.
“You would have to say that run was better than his last two runs last season.”
Walsh said: “He’s a horse that always had plenty of guts and determination. Some people may have had their doubts about him, but Kauto Star was also written off a number of times. That’s racing, it’s all about opinions and he got a wonderful reception from the crowd here today.”
Jezki’s trainer Jessica Harrington said: “He was beaten by a better horse on the day. I won’t make any excuses. There was 15 lengths back to the third. He missed the last a bit, but that was all.”