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Last Updated: December 29, 2012 4:24pm
Hurricane Fly: Ran out an easy winner
Hurricane Fly comfortably regained his crown in the Istabraq Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown.
Injury had ruled Willie Mullins' star out of the race 12 months ago when Unaccompanied took full advantage of his absence.
Dermot Weld's mare was no match for the top-class eight year old, however, and he barely turned a hair in recording his 15th success over hurdles from just 18 starts.
Stablemate Thousand Stars ensured that this was run at a proper gallop and Ruby Walsh settled the 1/5 favourite in second with Unaccompanied in third.
Hurricane Fly eased to the front in the straight, readily leaving his rivals behind to win a thirteenth Grade One contest.
Mullins said: "We're delighted with that, not just with the win but by the way he settled. He was easier to lead around the ring beforehand and Ruby said he settled beautifully throughout the race.
"He's a much more settled horse all round this year, with age and racing. He will come back here for the Irish Champion Hurdle before going to Cheltenham.
"If we can get him back to Cheltenham in the same form that he's in now, he'll have a very good chance."
Sky Bet were sufficiently impressed to cut the veteran campaigner to 7/2 from 5s for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.