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Hurricane Fly - Leopardstown - 29/01/2012

Hurricane Fly: returns to the racecourse at Punchestown on Sunday

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

Punchestown passes morning inspection

RACING at Punchestown goes ahead on Sunday after the course passed an early morning inspection.

Officials had decided to check the track with overnight frost threatening a card that is due to feature the return of last year's Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly.

However, racing was declared on after the track had been checked shortly before 8am on Sunday.

"Racing goes ahead today after track inspection this morning. First race due to post at 12.35pm. Going: heavy, soft to heavy in places on all courses," a statement on the Punchestown Facebook page read.

Hurricane Fly is set to face just two rivals in the Grade 1 Dobbins & Madigans @ Punchestown Morgiana Hurdle as he returns to the course for the first time since winning the Grade 1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle at Punchestown in late April.

Go Native - Christmas Hurdle Kempton 26.12.09

Go Native: back over hurdles

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker ( 

Sunday's race is an earlier return to the course than last season for Hurricane Fly who failed to reappear until January having failed to please his trainer Willie Mullins.

Mullins said: "The good news is that he has come back a stronger horse following his summer break. He has been pleasing us at home and I'm definitely a lot happier with him now than I was at this time last year when he wasn't right or ready to start his campaign until late January."

Hurricane Fly's rivals are Go Native, running over hurdles for the first time in 978 days but an impressive winner on the Flat at Galway last month, and Captain Cee Bee after Unaccompanied was withdrawn.

Go Native's trainer Noel Meade said: "It was nice to see him do what he did at Galway, but you just don't know what to expect until you run against these top horses."

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