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Hurricane Fly storms to Champion double at Cheltenham

By Tom Peacock

Hurricane Fly regained his crown under Ruby Walsh in the Stan James Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

Winner of the race in 2011 but beaten into third when an odds-on favourite 12 months ago, the nine-year-old was well supported prior to the off and sent off the 13-8 favourite.

Supporters of the Willie Mullins-trained gelding would have been worried at halfway as Walsh was already getting lower in the saddle.

But he began to pick up coming down the hill and was in the lead soon after jumping the second-last.

Hurricane Fly jumped the final flight smoothly and dug deep on the run-in to score by two and a half lengths.

Last year's winner Rock On Ruby was second, with Countrywide Flame third.

Walsh said: "I can't say I was overly confident - from the word 'go' he didn't travel as well as he can.

"He's an unbelievably big heart for a small horse."

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