Hurricane ready to fly again
Ulster-owned Hurricane Fly, last year’s Champion Hurdle winner, tuned up for his next big assignment with a promising work-out at Leopardstown yesterday.
Hurricane Fly, owned by Belfast’s George Creighton and Crossgar’s Rose Boyd, had been due to race in the Istabraq Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown’s big Christmas meeting.
But trainer Willie Mullins felt his charge was not ready for the race, won by Unaccompanied, and Hurricane Fly’s next outing will be in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on January 29.
Mullins was “absolutely delighted” with Hurricane Fly's efforts at Leopardstown yesterday afternoon.
After a strong workout with three stablemates, Mullins is hopeful he will make the big race line-up on January 29.
“Everything went very well,” said Mullins.
“It was more than a little workout — it was a good piece of work.
“I sent three others to gallop with him. He was ridden by Emmet (Mullins).
“Emmet and Paul (Townend) ride him in all his homework, but I’ve given Paul a few days off this week.
“Emmet settled him in behind and he cruised up to the others, and when Emmet gave him a squeeze he shot clear.
“I was absolutely delighted with him — it was just what we wanted to see.
“We’re working towards the Irish Champion Hurdle with him on the 29th and hopefully he’ll get there.”
Hurricane Fly was unbeaten last season with wins in major races such as the Hatton’s Grace, Festival Hurdle and the Champion Hurdles at Cheltenham and Punchestown.
He is around the 5-2 mark to retain his Cheltenham Festival crown in March.
Meanwhile, Co Down trainer Stan Moore — who had a winner at Wolverhampton last night with Rosewood Lad — sends out his first runner at this year’s Dubai Carnival today.
“Our Dubai Carnival kick starts with Mary Fildes running in the Guineas Trial at Meydan. She arrived there last weekend and is settling in well,” explained Moore, now based in Lambourn.
It will be a tough test for Mary Fildes, ridden by James Doyle, with Frankie Dettori’s mount Gamilati the odds-on favourite.
Mike de Kock got his 2012 Dubai Carnival off to the perfect start last night, classy filly Mahbooba showing the boys the way home in the featured Al Rashidiya Trial.
Oasis Dancer ended a lengthy barren streak at Wolverhampton last month and he can follow up in the lingfieldpark.co.uk Handicap at the Surrey venue tomorrow.
He had previously posted a good effort when second to Primaeval at Kempton.