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Hurricane Fly - Leopardstown - 29/01/2012

Hurricane Fly is a 9-4 shot to regain the Champion Hurdle crown

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

Mullins: no negatives for Fly in bid to regain crown

AN EARLY scare, courtesy of the cold weather and frozen ground, has failed to derail day one of the Cheltenham Festival and Hurricane Fly's bid to reclaim the Champion Hurdle title he lost last year to Rock On Ruby.

Not since Comedy Of Errors in 1975 has a horse won back the Champion Hurdle crown, and Rooster Booster in the 2003 running was the last nine-year-old to win the race, but Ruby Walsh's mount, unbeaten since that defeat last year, is the 9-4 favourite.

His trainer Willie Mullins said: "Hurricane Fly travelled over well and has settled in very well at the track. We couldn't be happier with him and unlike last year when he finished third in the race, he has had a trouble-free season.

"Everything has gone right with him since he returned from his summer break. He has continued to please us at home and his racecourse performances have been very good. He has been working well and the way we see it there are no negatives."

Another Willie Mullins-trained and Ruby Walsh-ridden horse, Champagne Fever, is the day's big mover in the opening Supreme Novices' Hurdle, now run at 2.05pm. Having been 7-1 this morning he is as short as 4-1 with William Hill and a best-priced 6-1.

Bostons Angel has been cut to 8-1 (from 9) for the Cross Country Chase, now the last race of the day at 5.45pm, while Simonsig has shortened further into 4-7 for the Racing Post Arkle and The Druids Nephew has been well supported for the Rewards4Racing Novices' Handicap (5.15pm).

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