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Hurricane Fly (Ruby Walsh) wins the Champion Hurdle from Peddlers Cross Cheltenham festival 15.03.2011

Hurricane Fly beats Peddlers Cross in last year's Champion Hurdle

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Hurricane Fly 4-5 for Irish Champion Hurdle

HURRICANE FLY has been inserted as the 4-5 favourite for the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on January 29.

Despite being absent from the track since May 6 and the high-class opposition, which could include Istabraq Festival Hurdle winner Unaccompanied, Binocular, Spirit Son and Zaidpour, Paddy Power have inserted the eight-year-old at an odds-on price.

Hurricane Fly has missed a couple of engagements this season notably the Morgiana Hurdle and Istabraq Festival Hurdle, but appeared to be back on track after delighting Mullins in a racecourse workout at Leopardstown on Thursday.

Paddy Power make Unaccompanied, winner of last month's Istabraq Festival Hurdle, the 9-2 second favourite with multiple Grade 1 winners Binocular, Thousand Stars, Spirit Son, Mikael D'Haguenet, Oscars Well, So Young and Zaidpour available at prices ranging from 5-1 to 14-1.

Dermot Weld, who trains Unaccompanied, told At The Races on Sunday: "I'm happy with the way she's come out of the race. It was an excellent performance.

"The Irish Champion will tell us more where we stand as regards to Cheltenham."

Weld, who thinks good to yielding ground is ideal for Unaccompanied, is not worried about taking on Hurricane Fly.

"He's an exceptional horse - a champion - but she needs all the experience at this level to win at this level," Weld added.

"She runs in the race and what runs against her runs against her.The best is yet to come. Whatever she does this year, I think she'll be better as a six-year-old."

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