Geraghty calls Hurricane Fly a shoe-in for Punchestown success
A victory for Hurricane Fly is not the most extravagant of tips, but it is hard not to expect the horse to triumph in the Rabobank Champion Hurdle for the third year in a row at 2/5.
The combination of Hurricane Fly’s dominance and the torrential downpours that have hit Punchestown have limited the Champion Hurdle to just four runners, with three of these emerging from the Willie Mullins yard.
Hurricane Fly is undoubtedly the star of the trio, with his Champion Hurdle defeat to Rock On Ruby at Cheltenham his first reverse since 2009.
It is believed that the horse ran a bit flat that day and generally got caught too far off the early pace, from which he could never really land a significant blow.
The same problems are unlikely to occur at Punchestown given the smallness of the field and Mullins has indicated that he expects the horse to come on for Cheltenham.
Thousand Stars is next best in the betting at 11/2, but may pay for a busy campaign in recent weeks, especially his minor defeat to Oscar Whisky at Aintree.
This may open the door for the third Mullins runner Zaidpour to complete to forecast with stablemate Hurricane Fly.
Zaidpour was not far behind at Cheltenham when making a major mess of the final hurdle and a repeat will see him give the favourite a race.
Furthermore, Zaidpour is more than at home on wet ground and has won his last four races on a surface described as being either soft or heavy.
The final runner is The Real Article, who is capable of running into the places at this level, although jockey Barry Geraghty is under no illusions that Hurricane Fly “looks a shoe-in” if anywhere close to his best.