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Off to flyer

RUBY WALSH and Hurricane Fly led a team of seventeen Willie Mullins-trained horses onto the gallops at Cheltenham this morning ahead of the start of the Festival tomorrow.

Hurricane Fly is Ireland’s leading hope for tomorrow’s feature, the Stan James Champion Hurdle, a race that was last won by an Irish trained horse when Sublimity won in 2007 for trainer John Carr.

With the news yesterday that the JP McManus-owned reigning champion, Binocular, would not be able to take his place, Hurricane Fly is the current second favourite behind Menorah.

Willie Mullins’ charge had missed the Festival for the last two-years due to niggling injuries and the champion trainer in Ireland is now “relieved” to have got him to this years meeting.

Speaking to the Herald this morning after Hurricane Fly's light exercise, Mullins said: “I'm happy with him. He seems very well in himself and travelled over well.

“I think the ground will suit. I've always thought he would be a better horse once he got better ground than we tend to race on in Ireland.”