Friday, 26 April 2013

Can the FLY be Squatted ?

Hurricane Fly faces just six rivals as he bids to land the Rabobank Champion Hurdle for the fourth successive year at Punchestown on Friday.

Hurricane Fly: Defending his Champion Hurdle title
Hurricane Fly: Defending his Champion Hurdle title

But it is the sole British raider, Rock On Ruby, who is expected to give Hurricane Fly the most to do.
Among the horses taking on Willie Mullins' crack two-miler are three of his stable companions, Midnight Game, So Young and Thousand Stars.
The pair clashed in the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham last month, with Hurricane Fly coming out on top by two and a half lengths from Harry Fry's charge.
Mullins feels "home advantage" further increases Hurricane Fly's chances of victory. He told At The Races: "We've been happy with the horse all year. He's been doing all his work well, eating up after, and coming back strong after his races.
"We've spent a lot of time trying to settle him and maybe it's working, as he's not as aggressive as he used to be. Maybe we have to take that into account when Ruby (Walsh) is riding him in the future.
"Punchestown might suit Rock On Ruby, but it's an away game for him, a strange place, where for us it is just up the road. We'd like to think it's home advantage anyway."
Walsh also believes racing on home soil has to give his mount an extra edge. "He's in really good order. Punchestown is 35 minutes up the road for Hurricane Fly but it's a long way from Dorset (for Rock On Ruby)," he said.
Fry knows it will be difficult to reverse Cheltenham form, but intends to ensure Rock On Ruby gives it his best shot.
"We want to ride to give ourselves the best possible chance and that's to play to our strengths, which is that we know we stay," the Seaborough handler said on his blog.
"We certainly don't want it to be a crawl and a sprint so I wouldn't be surprised if we employ similar sort of tactics to the ones we used in the Champion Hurdle. You never know, Hurricane Fly might have an off-day and we'll be there to capitalise if he does.
"It's hard to make a real case to say, 'Right, we're going over there to beat him', especially with the ground conditions but our horse is very fit and well. At the end of the day, it's a horse race and anything can happen."
Rebel Fitz will still take his chance, though Michael Winters is convinced the ground has gone against his stable star.
"He's in tremendous form, he's bouncing, but we're disappointed that the weather didn't go right for the last couple of days. We've been watching the weather like a hawk," said the County Cork trainer.
"The ground is obviously heavy at the moment and I suppose it rules us out of having a squeak of winning. The ground is a huge negative for us, but we will still take our chance. He's in great order so we're going to enjoy it."
Brendan Duke's Mister Benedictine makes up the field with the three defections at the final declaration stage being Hurricane Fly's stablemates Zaidpour and Quevega and the Tom Mullins-trained Fosters Cross.

MY VIEW : On current form and the form shown at Cheltenham i find it hard to see how ROR can turn around the form , Hurricane Fly has returned this season as good or better than ever and another solid win beckons.


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