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Saturday 18 August 2018

Flying form... How Hurricane compares with recent champion Hurdle heroes

Hurricane Fly has now won this season's Hatton's Grace, the December Festival Hurdle and the Irish Champion Hurdle so how does that compare to the most recent Irish horses to win Cheltenham's hurdling showpiece?

Istabraq Champion Hurdle winner 1998, 1999, 2000

Hurricane Fly is following in the footsteps of Istabraq as en route to two of his three Champion Hurdle winning campaigns the star hurdler won the same three races. The only difference was that on all three occasions Istabraq also won the John James McManus Memorial Hurdle before contesting the first leg of the treble, the Hattons Grace Hurdle. Incidentally it was Limestone Lad who denied him the Hattons Grace of 1999.

Hardy Eustace Champion Hurdle winner 2004 and 2005, placed in 2006, and 2007

Hardy Eustace took a totally different route and never won either the Hattons Grace or the December Festival Hurdle and won the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in 2007 before being fourth in the Cheltenham equivalent.

Brave Inca Champion Hurdle winner 2006, placed in 2005 and 2007.

Brave Inca won the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown and was then third in the Hattons Grace before winning the December Festival Hurdle and Irish Champion Hurdle ahead of his big day at Cheltenham.

Incidentally, the previous year he was third to Hardy Eustace having been second in the Hattons Grace, December Festival and the Irish Champion as well as a conditions race in Down Royal before following home Hardy Eustace and Harchibald in that famous Cheltenham Champion Hurdle.

Before finishing second in 2007, he again won two legs -- Hattons Grace and December Festival -- and was runner-up in the Irish Champion.

Sublimity Champion Hurdle winner in 2007

It was a lot simpler for Sublimity as he had just one run, winning a conditions hurdle at Navan before winning the Champion Hurdle in 2007.

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