The long awaited return to the track of the highly touted Hurricane Fly did not disappoint as the Willie Mullins horse bolted up to claim the Grade 1 Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse. The rearranged race was every bit as exciting as we had hoped with Solwhit and Hurricane Fly renewing their rivalry, it was Solwhit who took to the front first but Hurricane Fly was travelling in some style and looked the winner along way out. Paul Townend looked supremely confident on board Hurricane Fly despite the fact it was his first run since April and in the end he won the race with something in hand from a game Solwhit. It was a hugely impressive run from Hurricane Fly who should improve for the run next time, the bookmakers were hugely impressed and the Willie Mullins horse was slashed across the board for the Champion Hurdle in March.
Solwhit back in second is an excellent form marker with the Charles Byrnes horse already having an impressive win to his name this season, which has to put Hurricane Fly right into the Champion Hurdle picture for the spring. In fact, he is now disputing favouritism for the race along with Menorah and Binocular, while Peddlers Cross is another one who looks ready for a big run after winning the Fighting Fifth Hurdle recently. All of those ingredients mean that the Champion Hurdle is shaping up to be one of the highlights of the 2011 Cheltenham Festival, it is full of class and at the moment it appears that both the bookmakers and the punters are undecided on which horse they believe will win. Hurricane Fly though has proven he belongs in this company and if he can maintain or even improve on his current form he will be a very dangerous runner at Cheltenham in March.