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Fly on course for Punchestown

Hurricane Fly is on course to defend his crown in the Rabobank Champion Hurdle at Punchestown on May 6.

No horse has won this race twice since it was revamped in 1999, but Willie Mullins' star will return to the County Kildare track fresh from his brilliant success in the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

"I am pleased with Hurricane Fly at the moment and the plan is to go to the Rabobank Champion Hurdle," said Mullins.

"We have had ups and downs with him the past couple of years but this year everything has gone according to plan and we are happy that at Cheltenham he was able to show what we always hoped he might do.

"We were very pleased with that and delighted with how he has come out of Cheltenham."

The 16 entries for the Punchestown contest also feature the Nicky Henderson-trained Binocular, winner of Cheltenham's Champion Hurdle in 2010 and the Philip Hobbs-trained Menorah, fifth behind Hurricane Fly there last month.

"Menorah was disappointing in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and there was no real reason for it," said Hobbs.

"He is in good form now, he was a little bit flat for a week or two but he seems fine now so we will go straight to the Rabobank Champion Hurdle."

Other possibles include Philip Fenton's stable star Dunguib, Colm Murphy's smart mare Voler La Vedette and British hopefuls Mille Chief, Overturn and Starluck.

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