Hurricane Fly returns after his imperious season last term, when of course he proved himself the Champion Hurdler, cosily dismissing his rivals in that eponymous race.
Today he faces a small and not very select field in the Irish Champion Hurdle. If he is at 85% of his best he should dispose of this lot with his trademark turn of foot from the last hurdle and cement his position at the top of the Cheltenham betting.
Willie Mullins is a man that knows more than just the time of day. He has been patient with Hurricane Fly. This is the horse’s first run for nine months. Returns have been delayed. Reports were that the horse was disappointing at home. The trainer says his star has been back on track and working like a dream of late.
But his trainer has warned it and we know it to be a fact after such a long and interrupted preparation, Hurricane Fly will be ring rusty. Whatever happens today he will improve. Just how far off 100% will he be?
We have fond memories of Hurricane Fly on this site. We tipped and backed him at March last year. So we ought to play up some of our winnings here, against a mottley crew? No. Emotion and betting are ill bedfellows. Loyalty merely on the basis of past glories will find you in the poor house. Subjectivity is a luxury we can not afford.
So, if you are the sort of person who just itches for a reason to oppose a favourite then there is a case to be made to oppose the horse. After all, he will still go off odds-on despite having drifted ominously this morning from 8/15 to 4/5 with the bookies, but is there anything in the opposition to remotely trouble even a below-par Hurricane Fly?
Unaccompanied is a youngster on the improve. He is the nearest challenger according to the betting but on official ratings is a full 16lb inferior according to the handicapper. It makes Hurricane Fly look a good thing, an absolute stone bonking certainty, but there is just a suggestion if he is to be beaten at all this season, today may be the layers’ opportunity to get him.
If he were to win today then expect him to shorten even further from the 2/1 odds he currently is in the Champion Hurdle betting.