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Hurricane Fly Ready For Jezki Duel In Irish Champion Hurdle At Leopardstown

Friday 23rd January 2015

Hurricane Fly will aim to surpass the mighty Istabraq on Sunday afternoon and land his fifth consecutive Irish Champion Hurdle crown at Leopardstown, but the perennial Grade One winner will have his old adversary Jezki to beat in the third heavyweight clash between the hurdling superstars this season.  We are also set to be treated to a fascinating Irish Arkle, where a small, but select field of three runners go to post.

Istabraq was unbeatable in Ireland's premier hurdle event between 1998 and 2001 as the Aidan O'Brien-trained wonder bagged four Irish Champion Hurdle titles, but Hurricane Fly fans will know that a win in Sunday's renewal will see him bag a famous fifth win in the race and duly continue his imperious form this campaign.

After he struggled to land a blow in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last season, many thought that he was on the decline from the highest level, but he showed when ousting the abovementioned reigning Champion Hurdler Jezki in the Morgiana Hurdle that he still oozed quality.

He then progressed on that effort by outbattling Jessica Harrington's stable star in the Ryanair Hurdle over the festive period, and the veteran Willie Mullins-trained star will be aiming to notch up his third win on the spin over Jezki, who will be his nearest market rival in Sunday's showpiece.

Jezki will not be the only exciting challenger to Hurricane Fly's reign at the weekend, but stablemate Arctic Fire produced a career best when finishing within a couple of lengths of the star pair in the Ryaniar and he could well come on for that run and get even closer this time around.

On a day that will provide a plethora of Cheltenham Festival clues, Un De Sceaux will aim to cement his place at the top of the ante-post betting for the Arkle Challenge Trophy by bagging victory in the Irish Arkle Novice Chase, which has only attracted three runners.

What it lacks in quantity it certainly isn't devoid of quality as taking on the exciting Un De Sceaux will be the Enda Bolger-trained Gilgamboa, who has been a real sparkling performer over the larger obstacles, whilst Gordon Elliott's Clarcam will complete the trio and his defeat of Vautour earlier in the season is top notch form and he will be another major player.

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