Hurricane storms to Festival glory
Hurricane Fly confirmed his authority over old rival Solwhit with an effortless victory in the paddypower.com iPhone App Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown.
Willie Mullins' Montjeu gelding was sent off the 8-11 favourite after his victory over two and a half miles in the Hatton's Grace last time out, but he looked even more at home over the minimum trip.
Luska Lad set a generous pace but Paul Townend was keen not to let him get too far away on Hurricane Fly. Davy Russell went for a run up the inner on Solwhit, but made a slight mistake at the last, with Hurricane Fly, by contrast, spring-heeled. Solwhit eventually got the better of Luska Lad but was two and a half lengths away from the impressive winner.
Mullins said: "I thought the run at Fairyhouse took a good bit out of him and was afraid that he was a little bit flat coming here. But he had to take his chance, and once again he showed what a turn of foot he has.
"There is nothing set in stone but I would like to get three runs into him before Cheltenham, and I'd say he'll come back here for the Irish Champion Hurdle next month."
Charles Byrnes was "very happy" with Solwhit and has "no real plans", while 'Shark' Hanlon said of Luska Lad: "I'm thrilled with that run which is probably the best of his career.
"It's the first time that he's gone that way and I was a bit afraid as he's better going right-handed. He'll probably come back here for the Irish Champion Hurdle."