Horse racing fans will no doubt be eager with anticipation for Sunday’s race at Punchestown (2:15) and of course will be looking forward to seeing whether or not Hurricane Fly can get his season off to a winning start. Trainer Willie Mullins definitely feels that the ‘Fly’ is in with a fighting chance – in fact states that he has never looked better! He is quoted as saying:

“We had a fantastic summer which meant fantastic grass so Hurricane Fly has come back stronger this year than ever which is extraordinary. Hopefully those looks will carry through to performance.”

Hurricane Fly will once again be ridden by Ruby Walsh who also is feeling very positive about proceedings. He commented that the nine year old is comfortable when racing in Punchestown and that he has had loads of success in that area riding to victory many times. He also mentioned that he was very much looking forward to the race and if he is in such fine form – no wonder!

The only thing standing in Hurricane Fly’s way are his competitor’s, many of which are stable buddies. Annie Power, Marito, Midnight Game, Mikael D’ Haguenet, Blood Colt and the young pretender to his crown Un De Sceaux are all trained by Mr Mullins in Ireland. With so many horses entered Willie is almost guaranteeing a bumper day on Sunday.

Recently I was fortunate enough to tour the Mullins stable and I wholly agree with the trainers’ statement about the condition of his horses. They did look fabulous, especially Hurricane Fly who happily posed for a photo with me! I also thought Annie Power and Un De Sceaux looked in great shape. It will be a fascinating race and a representative of Stan James commented on the upcoming event:

“We are really looking forward to seeing Hurricane Fly make his debut on Sunday. We are currently joint best price at 11/2 for Hurricane Fly to win his third Champion Hurdle next March.”

He also mentioned that they had quite good odds on him but there wasn’t as much interest as they expected. He urged punters to bet on him quickly if they are planning to as the odds will shorten soon and if he wins there won’t be as big a pay out. It’s not all about the horse racing at this event there will be loads of entertainment for the family including free treats for the kids making the day enjoyable for them too.

This includes the likes of arts and crafts activities and stalls, shopping units up to 60 of them) as well as the possibility of Santa Claus paying them a visit! The General Manager Punchestown Dick O’Sullivan:

“We would like to welcome on board as feature sponsors at the Punchestown Winter Festival and wish them a successful campaign as they make their Irish racing sponsorship debut. In their first year as sponsors of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Hurricane Fly landed the race so they have a history!”

It seems like a good day will be had by all and only time will tell whether or not Hurricane Fly can race his way to victory once again! One thing’s for sure – we will definitely be watching to see the results!