Hurricane storms to Morgiana glory
Hurricane Fly made a winning reappearance in the Dobbins & Madigans At Punchestown Morgiana Hurdle after Go Native took a crashing fall at the final flight.
Paul Carberry brought Go Native to challenge the front-running 2/5 favourite but Noel Meade's nine-year-old came down on his first run over hurdles for 978 days.
It was a pleasing return for 2011 Champion Hurdle hero Hurricane Fly and his sixth course and distance success. He was completing a hat-trick on the day for trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh after their wins with Twinlight and Back in Focus earlier on the card.
Hurricane Fly came home 12 lengths clear of the only other finisher, Captain Cee Bee, and Mullins said: "It looked like there was going to be no pace and we felt we would have to make it (the running).
"We weren't worried about the trip or ground. All we were really worried about was facing two rivals who were race-fit. As he gets older he seems to settle better and hopefully he'll improve from that. He's certainly a different horse to last year. I was not happy with him last season.
"We'll look at Leopardstown at Christmas now and the plan will be that, the Irish Champion and Cheltenham as the races are well spread out. He'll be entered up in everything."
Hurricane Fly remained unchanged at 11-2 favourite with the sponsors for the Stan James Champion Hurdle.
"We don't know what might have happened if Go Native stood up but Hurricane Fly was finding plenty off the bridle for Ruby and will no doubt come on for today's run," said Joseph Burke, spokesman for Stan James.
Only three went to post after Unaccompanied was found to be in season.