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Cheltenham: Hurricane Fly set to whip up a storm

By Frank Brownlow

Hurricane Fly’s connections will fly to England tonight, eagerly anticipating their horse’s crack at tomorrow’s Champion Hurdle.

Ruby Walsh will be on-board in the feature race on the opening day of the Festival.

“hopefully he can do it,” said Lewis Creighton, representing Hurricane Fly’s connections, who hail from Belfast and Crossgar.

“I wouldn’t say I am confident. I get nervous watching him in action and I’m sure the Champion Hurdle will be no different.

“We bought the horse in 2008 from France. He had won a few races in France, including a Listed race. He came to us and won his maiden hurdle at Punchestown.

“He had a couple more wins in France and then won three Grade Ones in Ireland that season — Royal Bond, Future Champions and the Punchestown novice race.

“He didn’t make it to Cheltenham that year because he got injured — he strained a ligament on the gallops.

“Then he came back, but got injured again — he did the suspensory ligament this time which is worse. Some horses don’t come back from that, but he did.”

Meanwhile, Paul Nolan is looking forward to stepping Noble Prince up in trip for the first time over fences in the Jewson Novices' Chase at Cheltenham on Thursday.

The seven-year-old has stuck to around two miles in three races over the bigger obstacles but Nolan has always wanted to wait until the Festival to give him a try over two and a half miles.

“We've said with the heavier ground Ireland during the winter, we'd try to keep him to the minimum trip,” said Nolan.

“He was a stayer on the Flat and we made the decision to step him up to two and a half miles and go for the Jewson very early on and nothing else. Hopefully he will run very well.”

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