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Tuesday 21 November 2017

Hurricane force to hit 'town

Mullins happy to unleash his stable star on Sunday but Weld hoping to see sparks Fly

Hurricane Fly's season remains on course to kick-off at Leopardstown on Sunday when the current leading hurdler will face a maximum of five rivals for the BHP Insurances Champion Hurdle.

Willie Mullins' stable star missed Christmas, but has since worked around the Foxrock venue and remains set to take his chance in the race he won last year.

Speaking about Hurricane Fly yesterday, Mullins insisted: "He is a hell of a horse and probably only once or twice in your lifetime might you come across a horse with that sort of ability."

Hurricane Fly has been susceptible to niggling injuries, which have meant we haven't seen him as often as planned. However, in full health he has proven almost unbeatable since joining the Irish champion trainer.

Mullins added: "He is hard to train as he is so tough on himself and we can't let him do what he wants to do. I just want to keep him right and if he gets beaten, he gets beaten."

Looking ahead to defending his crown at Cheltenham, he concluded: "Hopefully, he will improve for the run.

"He is a horse that has a habit of getting himself into trouble at home, but he seems to be right now."

Mullins has also left Thousand Stars in the Grade One contest that could also feature Jessica Harrington's Oscars Well, and Colm Murphy's classy Voler La Vedette.

Outsider Kalann remained in at the five-day stage, but Hurricane Fly's biggest threat appears to come from Dermot Weld's Unaccompanied.

The five-year-old was successful in the Istabraq Hurdle at Christmas when accounting for Thousand Stars and Weld, who has a fantastic record at Leopardstown, is looking forward to Sunday's challenge.

"She was trained for the day and I'll be satisfied if she gets placed," claimed the master of Rosewell House.

"I do think that it is very ambitious to think that she can beat Hurricane Fly, but she is a good, improving mare and I think the best is yet to come from her.

"Hurricane Fly is an outstanding horse and he will be extremely hard to beat, but I am hopeful of winning the race."

A total of eight horses stood their ground for the Grade One Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase headed by the Peter Casey-trained Flemenstar.

Blackstairmountain and Notus De La Tour could also renew rivalries, while Gigginstown House Stud could be represented by Gift Of Dgab in the absence of Bog Warrior.

A two-day ticket for the weekend action at Leopardstown is available for just €20 with Saturday's card featuring the lucrative Boylesports.com Hurdle and the Grade A Leopardstown Handicap Chase.

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