Champion Irish Trainer Willie Mullins has announced that Hurricane Fly could be stepped up trip next season as he bids to prolong the career of one of his stable stars. Hurricane Fly has been the dominant force over two miles on both sides of the Irish Sea over the past few year's but that reign appears to be at an end following two successive defeats.
Hurricane Fly could only manage fourth place in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham back in March behind Jezki and the same horse defeated him last week at Punchestown in their latest clash. Hurricane Fly had no answer against the younger horse over two miles and it appears as if a step up in trip could well be on the horizon for a horse that has one no less than 19 Grade 1 races during his career.
Mullins also has a number of younger horses coming through his yard at the moment with Faugheen expected to be sent down the Champion Hurdle route. That would leave the door open for Hurricane Fly to have a go at further with bookmakers already quick to price him up for the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival next March. Paddy Power were the first out of the blocks with the Irish bookmaker installing the dual Champion Hurdler as a 10/1 shot to win the stayers hurdling championship race.
Much will of course depend on Mullins does re-arrange his yard over the winter with Annie Power another horse for the Irishman to consider before final plans are made. She was second in the World Hurdle back in March and could stay over hurdles although most believe that she is destined for a career over fences at some stage. Briar Hill is another stayer who could well stay over hurdles or go chasing, while Vautour is another hot novice hurdler whose future is far from certain at the time of writing.
It will be a massive ask for Hurricane Fly to win a World Hurdle at this stage of his career but there is no doubt that his class is enough to add a layer of intrigue to the National Hunt game next winter. Some had expected the 10-year-old would be retired after his Punchestown defeat but it now appears as if he will have at least one more season ahead of him as he bids to add to his record haul of top level races. More Of That was the impressive winner of the World Hurdle last season and could still have plenty of improvement in him which would make him very tough to beat, as long as he doesn't start a career over fences in the winter.