Hurricane Fly, ‘horse of a generation’, retired

Hurricane Fly - Leopardstown 26.1.14

Hurricane Fly: won a world record 22 Grade 1 races

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)  

HURRICANE FLY, twice a winner of the Champion Hurdle, has been retired from racing, his trainer Willie Mullins has announced.

In a spellbinding career spanning ten seasons, Hurricane Fly won 24 of his 32 races over hurdles but, most tellingly, 22 of those victories came at Grade 1 level, a world record in horseracing.

Mullins took the decision together with the horse’s owners George Creighton and Rose Boyd, bringing to an end an incredible hurdling career that saw the 11-year-old son of Montjeu become the preeminent two-miler of his generation.

The decision to retire almost came last year but connections rolled the dice for one more season, a verdict that yielded rich fruit: three Grade 1 victories last season including a record fifth-straight BHP Irish Champion Hurdle, this time in the autumn of his career.

Unbeaten at Leopardstown

For seven straight seasons and 30 races, he competed exclusively in Grade 1 company, his brilliance and durability enabling him set that world record of 22 Grade 1 career wins.

Ten of those were in Grade 1s at Leopardstown, a venue at which he was never beaten. He was also a standing dish at Punchestown’s top meetings, winning the last three Morgiana Hurdles.

Ruby Walsh returns on Hurricane Fly - Leopardstown 29.12.12

Ruby Walsh and Hurricane Fly after another Grade 1 Leopardstown win

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)  

As with most jumps horses, the pinnacle of his career, however, came at Cheltenham. For two consecutive seasons injury ruled Hurricane Fly out of the festival, so by the time he turned up for the Champion Hurdle of 2011, he already had eight Grade 1s in the locker.

He started favourite for the race and justified the confidence of connections and backers by beating Peddlers Cross and then, two years later, became the first horse since Comedy Of Errors in 1975 to regain his Champion Hurdle crown when he stormed up the hill under Ruby Walsh to beat Rock On Ruby.

Horse of a generation

His exploits saw him firmly established as one of the most popular jumps horses in training and yet for all his speed, class and jumping prowess, it was perhaps his bravery that epitomised his career.

“I don’t think I have seen a horse that can battle like him,” said Willie Mullins, describing Hurricane Fly as “the horse of a generation”.

Willie-mullins-tweet

 A statement from the owners spoke of their appreciation for their “champion” and his trainer.

The statement added: “The Creighton and Boyd families have been so privileged to own such a champion. He has produced us with so much joy for so long and we’re delighted to retire him at this time.

“Of course a very big thanks must go to the family that is the Mullins yard, Harold Kirk, Gail (Carlisle), Paul (Townend) and Ruby (Walsh) to name a few. The door was always open to all our family members so they could be a part of this tremendous success story.”

Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh celebrate the incredible career of Hurricane Fly in a brilliant eight-page supplement in Tuesday’s Racing Post and on the iPad from 8pm

 

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