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Hurricane Fly in Festival Hurdle romp

ESPN staff
December 29, 2012 « Dodson chasing pigs & squirrels to prepare for Johnson | Chartbeat test »
Hurricane Fly produced a slick round of jumping to win the Istabraq Festival Hurdle © PA Photos
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Hurricane Fly cemented his position as Ireland's premier hurdler with a slick display to land the Istabraq Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Willie Mullins' charge was sent off a long odds-on favourite to land the Grade One prize and he obliged with the minimum of fuss.

Hurricane Fly's stablemate Thousand Stars set a decent gallop from the off but Ruby Walsh always had him in his sights. Hurricane Fly swept to the front jumping the second last and sauntered away from his rivals.

He jumped the final flight in style and cruised clear from Unaccompanied and the staying on Thousand Stars.

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

Having been beaten by Mikael D'haguenet last time, Lord Windermere broke his duck over fences in the Ballymaloe Country Relish Beginners Chase. Jim Culloty's charge, the 9/4f, was briefly denied a run turning for home, but once seeing daylight he stuck on well to fend off Marasonnien.

There was Grade One action at Newbury and trainer Jonjo O'Neill landed the Challow Hurdle with Taquin De Seuil. The 13/8f has looked very smart in his outings to date and despite a couple of sloppy leaps up the straight, he was much too good for Easter Day in the hands of Tony McCoy.

Pete The Feat made every yard of the running to make it five wins on the spin with victory in the Mandarin Handicap Chase. Charlie Longsdon's charge jumped superbly and did not see another rival in justifying 15/8 favouritism.

Module bounced back from a fall on his chasing debut to land the Hallowe'en Trophy. Tome George's 7/2 shot stuck on well to score in the hands of Paddy Brennan, but Colour Squadron could be the horse to take from the race as he finished a close second despite Tony McCoy being unable to give him any assistance in the home straight due to a slipped saddle.

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