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Hurricane Fly - Leopardstown 26.1.14

Ruby Walsh is hoping for more celebrations on Hurricane Fly

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

Walsh: The New One has an outstanding chance

RUBY WALSH is confident Hurricane Fly can capture a third Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, but reckons The New One, who heads the market with the two-time champ, has an outstanding chance.

Hurricane Fly, a winner of the Champion Hurdle in 2011 and 2013, and third in 2012, has beaten Ireland's other top challengers Our Conor and Jezki twice this season, but will face a new rival in The New One at the festival.

The pair are rated 3-1 joint-favourites by most bookmakers and Walsh has a healthy respect for The New One, winner of last year's Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

In an enthralling interview in Sunday's Racing Post, Walsh says: "The New One has an outstanding chance in the Champion Hurdle. He stays, he has that all-important pace and he loves Cheltenham. He is a good horse."

Not that Walsh would swap the mount on Hurricane Fly, who set a new world record for top-level wins when landing the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown in November. He has since added two more and heads to Cheltenham in great shape, according to Walsh.

"This year he has had to knuckle down and scrap to win two Grade 1s and I think that's given him the best prep ever," adds the rider, who has won more races at the Cheltenham Festival than anyone else.

"If everything pans out for him then I believe he can blow the English away as he has the Irish in recent years."

Read more of the Ruby Walsh interview in Sunday's Racing Post - or download the iPad edition

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