Hurricane Fly (right) could make his seasonal reappearance in JanuaryPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Hurricane Fly out to 11-4 for Cheltenham repeat
HURRICANE FLY, an impressive winner of last season's Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, has been pushed out to 11-4 with the race sponsors for a repeat bid next March.
Trained by Willie Mullins, Hurricane Fly has not been seen on a racetrack this season and missed another intended engagement at Leopardstown on Thursday, when he was entered to run in the Grade 1 Istabraq Festival Hurdle.
The nine-time Grade 1 winner is now as big as 11-4 for next year's Champion Hurdle, for which Stan James offer 5-1 about Grandouet and 8-1 for Binocular, Spirit Son and Zarkandar.
Mullins, writing in his exclusive Sunday column, said Hurricane Fly could have a racecourse gallop before his first run of the season.
Willie Mullins: trains Hurricane FlyPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
"As I said at Leopardstown on Wednesday, Hurricane Fly is in good form but not quite good enough form to have run in the Istabraq Hurdle," said Mullins.
"I intend giving him a racecourse gallop some time soon and, depending on how that goes, we should be in a position to get his season started.
"I'd like to get a run in to him before the Stan James Champion Hurdle and the BHP Irish Insurance Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown at the end of this month looks the obvious race.
"But I want to be entirely satisfied he will be ready to do himself justice when he reappears and for that reason nothing has been decided when he will have his first run of the season."