You’re probably all tired of hearing his name and I am a little late to the party with this article. However, I cannot let Hurricane Fly’s second Champion Hurdle victory pass without comment. You all know by now that Hurricane Fly is my favourite horse, but his regaining of the crown resonates on a far deeper level for the both of us. Last year, we were both sick, really sick, I couldn’t walk. He’s far classier than I am, even with ailments. His then misfiring engine carried him into a brave third behind Rock On Ruby. Whereas I couldn’t get out the front door. When Hurricane Fly crossed the line yesterday it heralded the end of probably the most testing year of my life. As for him, he sent a flare high above Cleeve Hill that simply said: “I am the real deal”. I have no doubt in my mind that if Hurricane Fly had been on his A game last year we would now be looking at a triple Champion Hurdler. When I saw him in the pre-parade ring, he was every inch of the horse that I had fallen in love with on a cold January day at Leopardstown. He had what I call the positive buzz, not anxious; just lightly on his toes and there to do his job. I have no doubt that this son of Montjeu will continue to divide opinion, but that is just one of several hundred things that make this game so great. Next stop on the Hurricane Fly show is the Punchestown Festival, where he will attempt to win the Rabobank Champion Hurdle for the fourth time. There is talk of a shot at the French Champion Hurdle and I’m with the maestro Mullins – he’ll stay no problem. 17 Grade Ones, imagine that. Both Rock On Ruby and Countrywide Flame went down with all guns blazing. Incredibly, Rock On Ruby remains an underrated horse and he is galloping fast onto my favourites list. A word on his trainer Harry Fry; what a gentleman. Many would not have been that gracious in defeat. As for the five year old Countrywide Flame; the world is his oyster. Aintree beckons for him and he is in the right hands. My closing words are: there are those of us that love and there are those of us that play. Hurricane Fly loves and so do I.
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