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Happy to have kept faith in Hurricane

I know I was in the minority going for Hurricane Fly in last Sunday's Morgiana Hurdle but I'm delighted I still kept the faith in him and it was great to see him win again and do so in great style.

Last Sunday's renewal of the Punchestown Grade One was a much better race than it was last year and probably the strongest version we have seen in many years with Little King Robin going a right good gallop and ensuring that there was no hiding places for Jezki or Hurricane Fly and the best horse on the day definitely won.

Whether it will be the same outcome between Jezki and Hurricane Fly later in the season, we'll just have to wait and see, but definitely around Punchestown, with a bit of an ease in the ground, Hurricane Fly is a specialist and it was an unbelievable performance by both horse and trainer to win a 20th Grade One race, especially considering at the end of last season many were wondering was he on the downward spiral. You couldn't say that now.

easier

If Hurricane Fly had run the race he did last Sunday a year ago, people would definitely be making him favourite for the Champion Hurdle again but he is a year older now and it'll be interesting to see how his season pans out. With Jezki and so many others knocking around, it doesn't get any easier.

One of the exciting horses to emerge from the novice ranks looks to be Faugheen, who is another part of the embarrassment of riches that Willie Mullins has and he should make a rather straight forward return to action tomorrow at Ascot. Ruby will head to Ascot for him, having been in Haydock today for Turban.

Between Faugheen and Vautour (who runs at Navan on Sunday), they are probably the two most exciting horses for the upcoming season and while Faugheen is already very short for the Champion Hurdle, considering he has not even run out of novice company yet, I do think he will put in a very impressive display tomorrow and make those odds look right.

Vautour will line up in the beginners chase on Sunday at Navan and if you had a nice horse for novice chasing this season what a daunting prospect it would be to bump into him!

Obviously, he was extremely impressive at Cheltenham last season when winning the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and he is just one on a long list of exciting novice chasers in Ireland this season. There's no doubt it's the division where we're strongest.

Speaking of novice chasers, Dad ran Champagne James at Punchestown last weekend and we were delighted with him finishing second to what I think, many people will agree, is a very special-looking horse in Valseur Lido.

Dad also has a couple of runners this weekend, with Foxrock and Colbert Station both making their seasonal reappearances.

Foxrock starts back in a hurdle race at Navan over 2m7f and it's a Grade C handicap so you can be sure it is going to be competitive but he has to start somewhere as he builds towards Christmas and 2m7f around one of our best tracks will be a nice starting point.

Colbert Station runs in the Troytown on the same card in what will be his first start since Punchestown. He's up near the top of the handicap but he ran well in the race last year and, hopefully, he can do so again this time around. He's not getting any younger and it's a €100,000 race that everyone wants to win, so it won't be easy, but we'll give it a shot.


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