Walsh will ride Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle

Stan James

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

Willie Mullins has confirmed Ruby Walsh will ride Hurricane Fly in Tuesday’s Stan James Champion Hurdle instead of the horse’s regular partner Paul Townend.

Walsh has recently returned to race riding from injury and proved his fitness at Sandown on Saturday when picking up his first win for four months with Mon Parrain’s victory in the Mobile Betting At paddypower.com Handicap Chase.

Mullins told The Racing Post: ”I've decided that Ruby will ride Hurricane Fly. I ran it by the horse's owners and spokewith Ruby and with Paul, who will now ride our other Champion Hurdle runner Thousand Stars.

"Ruby is our number-one rider and it's good that he's fit and back in action and among the winners again."

Walsh divides the majority of his riding between Mullins and Paul Nicholls’ yards but has not ridden Hurricane Fly competitively since the Punchestown festival in April 2009. In the meantime, Townend has been in the plate and has ridden the seven-year-old to four Grade 1 wins.

Walsh has yet to win the Champion Hurdle and the chances of breaking his duck have improved with the withdrawal of long-time favourite Binocular. The Irish-based jockey has ridden 27 winners at the Cheltenham Festival and has been top jockey five times, in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

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