Dunguib exit sees Hurricane in control
Hurricane Fly will face a maximum of five rivals in the BHP Insurances Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown after Dunguib was last night ruled out of Sunday's Grade One feature with a minor blood disorder.
The Philip Fenton-trained Dunguib had been due to make his first start since April's Punchestown Festival and was the |9-2 third favourite.
Hurricane Fly is now a 1-2 chance with his old adversary Solwhit 5-2.
Fenton said: “Unfortunately he's going to miss Sunday. We blood tested him and it is not quite up to scratch so we are going to have to divert.
“The Red Mills Hurdle at Gowran (February 12) is the next assignment. Thankfully it's nothing serious, it's not a major blood problem and is treatable, it will just set him back 10 days or so.”
The Willie Mullins-trained Hurricane Fly has enjoyed a superb campaign, winning his two starts with ease, and is the general second-favourite — behind Binocular — for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.
Mullins said: “I'm very happy with the horse going into the race.”
Solwhit won the race 12 months ago for Charles Byrnes.
Voler La Vedette — Core Hurdle winner at the 2009 Down Royal Festival — is the only mare in contention for the prize.