Hurricane Fly wins Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham
CHELTENHAM, England (AP) - Hurricane Fly became the first horse in 38 years to regain the Champion Hurdle title Tuesday by beating defending champion Rock On Ruby on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Rock On Ruby set the pace in the feature race, but 13-8 favorite Hurricane Fly, ridden by Ruby Walsh, stormed in front after jumping the next-to-last fence in the 2 1/2-mile race.
"He made a mistake or two, but he's as tough as nails. ... I'm glad he got it back to show everyone he's a true champion hurdler,'' Walsh said.
Hurricane Fly also won in 2011 and became the first horse to regain the Champion Hurdle crown since Comedy of Errors in 1975.
"Last year was so disappointing, but since he came back this year he has been much heavier and stronger,'' Hurricane Fly trainer Willie Mullins said. "Every gallop he's had, every race he's had, he's bounced back and taken it all in his stride.''
Rock On Ruby, sent out at 11-2, pushed Countrywide Flame, a 16-1 shot, into third.