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Faugheen and Fly both greats: Ruby

By Frank Brownlow

It is impossible to compare Faugheen with Ulster great Hurricane Fly, claimed Ruby Walsh - the regular rider for both horses - after the former's triumph in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle.

Hurricane Fly, now an 11-year-old veteran and owned by Rose Boyd from Crossgar and Belfast's George Creighton, was second to Jezki in Thursday's World Series Hurdle.

"You can't compare him with others. Hurricane Fly in his heyday was a machine, as was Istabraq, you can't compare them - he's just a brilliant racehorse," said Walsh.

Faugheen made every yard of the running to win the Punchestown Champion Hurdle - the highlight on day four - from Arctic Fire.

In winning he took his record to a perfect 10 out of 10 in his career to date.

"He was making the sound of a jet and that is exactly what he is," added Walsh.

"He even pricked his ears after the last - he's like an aeroplane.

"He's a pleasure to ride. I felt I went quicker than I did at Cheltenham," he said.

Faugheen's trainer Willie Mullins said: "That was a good performance. Ruby didn't hang around and kept applying the pressure from the front. It was a gutsy ride.

"He's done it now in year one and we'll let him tell us how good he can be.

"I believe in him but he has to stand the test of time. He's very, very good. We'll see now if the handicapper puts him past Hurricane Fly.

"I don't know if we'll travel back to England with him next season (before Cheltenham) or stay at home. I'll have a word with the owner (Susannah Ricci).

"We know he can travel to England and back and it doesn't seem to take anything out of him. But maybe we'll stay at home and tackle the Irish horses.

"When I look at Douvan he says novice chaser to me and that's obvious enough unless connections change my mind," he added.

Annie Power returns to action today in the Mares Champion Hurdle following her crashing fall at the Cheltenham Festival which opened the door for Glens Melody in the Mares Hurdle.

Meanwhile, Gleneagles is tipped to win today's 2,000 Guineas in Newmarket.

Belfast Telegraph

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