7/2 Champion Hurdle Favourite Hurricane Fly Still Has Questions To Answer!

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Tagged under: 3.20 Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1)

Hurricane Fly's impressive victory in Wednesday's Paddypower.com Iphone App Festival Hurdle elevated the 6 year-old to clear favouritism for the Champion Hurdle next March, and while even the most hardened of critics would find it difficult to criticise the performance, Willie Mullins's gelding still has one or two questions to answer.

A general 7/2 shot for Festival glory, Hurricane Fly has one major disadvantage to overcome with the four horses closest to him in the ante-post market, namely, Menorah, Binocular, Peddlers Cross and Khyber Kim.

While the son of Montjeu has yet to encounter the undulations of Cheltenham racecourse, the horses likely to pose the greatest threat come March have all won Grade 1 or 2 contests at the home of national hunt racing.

Menorah, Binocular and Peddlers Cross were all successful at last seasons' Festival, whereas Khyber Kim was runner-up in the Champion Hurdle after a smooth victory in the Boylesport.com International Hurdle last December.

The faultless Leopardstown display even surprised Hurricane Fly's trainer, who said: " I thought he was a bit dead before the race today, but he had to take his chance.

" He seems a lot more settled and showed again what a turn of foot he has."

If that turn of foot is equally effective at Cheltenham as it is at Lepoardstown, racing may have a talent capable of following in the footsteps of the great Istabraq, and the answer to that question makes this seasons Champion Hurdle even more fascinating.

It may be worth bearing in mind however, that the horses' sire ( Montjeu ) was much more effective with plenty of cut in the ground, so the prospect of fast ground at the Festival is not guaranteed to suit this exciting prospect.

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