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Last Updated: 27/01/13 9:29pm
Hurricane Fly: Runaway winner of the Irish Champion Hurdle
Hurricane Fly readily landed his third successive BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday.
The brilliant nine year old was always travelling easily as stablemate Thousand Stars and One Cool Shabra cut out the early running in the Grade One contest that was run in strong winds and sleet.
Paul Townend had a look through his legs ahead of the home straight to see where the 1/6 favourite was and he would have seen Ruby Walsh travelling ominously well in his slipstream.
Walsh eased the Champion Hurdle favourite to the head of affairs rounding that turn and the pair quickly opened up a commanding advantage before stretching clear to record a commanding success.
There was a rousing finish for the minor honours as the patiently ridden Binocular attempted to take second from Thousand Stars but he lost out in a head-bobbing finish to the grey to leave Mullins with a one-two in the feature.
Mullins said: "He's well used to these conditions and he flies through that ground so everything went according to plan.
"We didn't know what One Cool Shabra was going to do, but we weren't going to be hanging around with either horse (Hurricane Fly and Thousand Stars) if there was no pace.
"When you look at the race it was a tip-top race. Everything had gone 100% in his preparation."
Mullins went on: "Ruby said he's as good as he ever saw him. He gave him a squeeze turning off the last bend and said it was just like he had jumped in. He took off like he was on summer ground and I just hope to keep him in that form over the next six or seven weeks.
"I've had faith in him all year and he seems to be in the sort of form he was two years ago."
On Thousand Stars, Mullins said: "He ran a cracker and is coming back to himself - we may keep him for the Aintree Hurdle. They've brought that race back to Thursday this year so the gap between it and Cheltenham is that bit tighter."
Hurricane Fly is now a clear favourite for the Stan James Champion Hurdle with Leeds firm Sky Bet who cut him to 5/2 from 4s for Cheltenham glory.