SPORT — 31 December 2013

By Damian Dolan.

Trainer Willie Mullins hailed Hurricane Fly as a ‘once in a generation’ horse after putting the young pretenders to his Cheltenham Champion Hurdle crown firmly in their place in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday.

It was Grade 1 win number 18 for the nine-year-old, The Fly, who with Ruby Walsh in the saddle left Jezki and Our Conor in his wake, although the AP McCoy ridden Jezki didn’t get a clean after being boxed in by Our Conor, running his first race over jumps this season. McCoy still recovered, however, to bring Jezki home in second.

“You’re lucky if you come across a horse like this – you get something special like this, they come around maybe once every generation,” said Mullins.

The Fly will now go for his third Champion Hurdle win on March 11, but will face stiff competition from Jezki and Our Conor as well as The New One and My Tent or Yours – an impressive winner at Kempton in the Christmas Hurdle. The Champion Hurdle promises to be one of the highlights of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival.

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