The first main casualty of the 2009 Festival is Hurricane Fly who was lame before the Deloitte Hurdle at Leopardstown earlier this month. His trainer is unable to get him back to full fitness for the March 11th Supreme Novices Hurdle and will hold him back for the Punchestown Festival.
This news will impact many supporters of the horse who would have held ante post bets at much bigger prices than the 4/1 he was when the news broke this afternoon. This leaves the other Willie Mullins contender for the race Cousin Vinny as as the clear favourite with the online bookmakers quickly cutting him to 3/1 favourite, even after his last flight blunder which cost him victory in the Deloitte Hurdle.
Mullins went on to say “We’ve decided not to train him for Cheltenham as he has not made the improvement we had hoped for,” said Mullins on Tuesday afternoon. “We’re going to concentrate on Punchestown with him and while it’s disappointing, the upside is that it will come right as it just needs time.”