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Hurricane will fly again at 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 with a real chance, fresh from his brilliant success in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last month.

“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.

Meanwhile, one of the most credible challengers to Frankel in the 2,000 Guineas, Dubai Prince, was ruled out yesterday of not only the Classic on the Rowley Mile, but also the Derby.

The unbeaten colt, now with the Godolphin operation, has sustained a pelvic injury that will keep him off the track for the first half of the season.

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