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Wonder horse Hurricane Fly immortalised in bronze at Leopardstown

Sculpture celebrates successes of 'The Fly'

By David Young

One of Northern Ireland's best-loved racehorses has been immortalised in bronze at the racecourse which saw some of his most famous victories.

A statue of two-time Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly - owned by Belfast's George Creighton and Crossgar-based Rose Boyd - has been unveiled at Leopardstown racecourse in Dublin.

Rose is the mother of Fiona Boyd-Armstrong, a co-founder with her husband David of the popular Shortcross Gin brand.

Now aged 13, and two years into his well-earned retirement, Hurricane Fly holds the world record for most Grade 1 (or Group 1) races won by any racehorse.

He also won the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham twice, no fewer than eight Grade 1 races at Punchestown and another two at Fairyhouse.

However, Hurricane Fly always saved his best performances for Leopardstown, where he was unbeaten in 10 starts at Grade 1 level.

'The Fly' won the Istabraq Hurdle in 2012 and the same race again in 2013 and 2014, when it became the Ryanair Hurdle.

One of Hurricane Fly's finest achievements was winning five successive BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdles.

A spokesman for the Boyd and Creighton families said they were delighted to provide the bronze of the champion by renowned Irish equine sculptor Siobhan Bulfin.

"Year after year 'The Fly' gave so many great and thrilling moments - winning in his own way," he said.

"The affection and support of the Leopardstown racegoers was unique.

"We are honoured that the 'people's champion' will have a permanent base at Leopardstown and will always be part of the Leopardstown story," he said.

And Pat Keogh, CEO of Leopardstown Racecourse, paid tribute to the legendary horse and its owners.

"We are delighted that thanks to the generosity of the Boyd and Creighton families, Hurricane Fly will be coming back to Leopardstown," he said.

"His statue will be there to remind us and future generations of his wonderful achievements."

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