HURRICANE FLY WINS CHELTENHAM OPENING FEATURE

From TDN:

Successful in the 2007 Listed Prix Omnium at Saint-Cloud, Hurricane Fly (Ire) backed up his victory in January’s G1 Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown with success in the $597,000 G1 Champion Hurdle on the first day of Cheltenham’s National Hunt Festival yesterday.

It was his eighth score at the highest level, and he was partnered by Ruby Walsh, who had recently returned to action after a lengthy injury absence.

Settled off the pace and ridden with confidence throughout the 2 1/16-mile event, the bay cruised into contention at the penultimate obstacle and, having taken over just before the final  flight of hurdles, the 11-4 favorite was driven out up the infamous hill to score by 1 1/4 lengths from the hitherto unbeaten Peddlers Cross (Ire).

Other Group 1 victories on the first-day card went to Al Ferof (Fr) also partnered by Walsh, inthe G1 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle; and Captain Chris (Ire) in the G1 Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase.  

(Photos by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe)