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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Hurricane targets Champion trebleHeadlines
Hurricane Fly

Willie Mullins is confident Hurricane Fly is in better shape than at any stage last season as he aims to complete a hat-trick in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday.

The 13-time Grade One winner was a scintillating winner of this prestigious event 12 months ago on what was his belated seasonal reappearance, but suffered an odds-on reverse when defending his crown in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.

He signed off for the campaign with a solid, if unspectacular, victory at the Punchestown Festival, but has looked more like his old self in winning the Morgiana and the Festival Hurdle so far this term. He is a hot favourite to become the first horse since the great Istabraq to win the Irish Champion Hurdle more than twice.

"I don't think there was anything troubling him last season. He just didn't come back as strong. He probably didn't do as well during the summer and we never got to put the condition and strength into him that we needed," said Mullins.

"This year he's come back much stronger and he has taken his training well and is doing everything right, so fingers crossed we can keep him right for Sunday. He's a much more settled horse all round this year and he'll have a very good chance."

Victory this weekend is likely to strengthen Hurricane Fly's position at the head of ante-post betting for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, but Mullins is refusing to look that far ahead.

"I'm just concentrating on Sunday. What happens after that across the water, I'm not thinking about that. It's all about Sunday for me," said the champion trainer.

"The Irish Champion Hurdle is an extremely valuable and important race in its own right. We've been fortunate enough with Hurricane Fly to win this race on two occasions and we're looking forward to the race."

Mullins has a second runner in the shape of three-time Grade One winner Thousand Stars, but he has never finished ahead of Hurricane Fly in eight previous meetings.

24 April 2014

Rain set to help Punchestown
Rifles aimed at York
Dante considered for Arod
Carpenter faces stamina question
Tonto strives for Sandown scalp
Telescope sights fixed on Sandown
Prize lined up for Greffulhe raid
Celebration time for super Sire
Taghrooda swerves Sandown heat
Concorde checks in for Punchestown
No Sandown run for Oscar
Un De Sceaux to skip Punchestown
Treve among stellar Ascot entries
Charline still in Guineas mix
Big guns remain in Guineas frame
Prince in Punchestown frame
Sparrow set for Punchestown spin
Balder to take novice test
Connell eager for Tank chase run

23 April 2014

Telescope tops Richards runners
No rush for Annie target
Cosgrave appeal set for Monday
Hughes set for Sandown return
France adds flair to Guineas
Mullins drops Vautour Champion hint
Exciting Bunker given Dante date
Culloty keen on Gold run for Heeled
Hannon triple-handed in Guineas
Resurge revived for Epsom return
Sandown option for Battalion
Johnston pair clash in Derby Trial
Reckless Abandon returns to track

22 April 2014

Rizeena delights in Guineas workout
Carberry targets swift return
Williamson escapes serious injury
Rizeena thrills Brittain on gallops
Door bags National glory
Twiston-Davies hits four-timer
Joe suffers shock defeat
Scudamore hits century mark
Ivan lands Fairyhouse prize
Thousand shows star quality
Cirrus set for Treve clash
Houblon heads Gold contenders
Guineas still on Berkshire radar

21 April 2014

Door bags National glory
Wilson passes away
Ivan lands Fairyhouse prize
Stepper set for trip drop
Richards in Telescope sights
Ladies geared for Summer repeat
Hill out of Irish National
No Dundeel at Royal Ascot
Clowance up for the Cup
Garner hit with lengthy ban
Memories in Final flourish
Fitz powers home at Fairyhouse
Toner hits target for Elliott
Joe ready for Cork outing
Lennon looking to call tune
Ground holds key to Tonto show
Lucky escape for Cook
Mind called up for National service

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