Hurricane Fly pure magic in Morgiana Hurdle
Hurricane Fly silenced the doubters when putting in a breathtaking performance to land a hat-trick of victories in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown, and Coral make the Willie Mullins trained gelding a 14/1 shot (from 20s) for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival next March.
The 10-year-old had been written off by many as past his best after getting comprehensively outpointed by Jezki in the Champion Hurdle and the Irish equivalent back in the spring.
However, Hurricane Fly showed that he was certainly no back number when gaining revenge on that rival with a smooth 2 1/4 length success in the Morgiana.
The son of Montjeu looked to have it all to do after a mistake two out, but quickly came back on the bridle and after being produced by jockey Ruby Walsh to lead at the last quickened clear on the run-in.
It was a performance which brought the house down, and provided Hurricane Fly with an incredible 20th success in Grade 1 company.
The heart-warming victory also saw Hurricane Fly take his career earnings to more than £1.7 million adnd confirmed his status as one of the best hurdlers of the modern era.
Whether the 2013 Champion Hurdle winner will confirm the placings with Jezki next March has to be questionable given that the runner-uo looked big and well and sure to come on for his first run of the season.
Indeed, Jezki lost little in defeat and was not unduly punished by jockey Mark Walsh once it was clear he would not been winning.
I thought that Jezki ran an absolute blinder against a horse that has a terrific record fresh and looked far fitter in the paddock beforehand, and at the age of six the son of Milan remains open to stacks more improvement.
Coral eased Jezki slightly to 5/1 (from 9/2) to retain his crown in the 2015 Champion Hurdle, but to me he still looks the one they all have to beat.