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Walsh bullish over Hurricane Fly 2013 Champion Hurdle bid

Hurricane Fly rekindled hopes of capturing a third Stan James Champion Hurdle victory at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival when making it a hat-trick of Morgiana Hurdle wins by outbattling Jezki at Punchestown.

Jezki had the 10-year-old back in fourth when prevailing at Prestbury Park in March but Willie Mullins' charge turned the tables with a gutsy success on this occasion.

Mark Walsh moved Jezki past pacesetter Little King Robin approaching the final flight, but Ruby Walsh and Hurricane Fly soon loomed alongside Jessica Harrington's six-year-old.

It was the golden oldie who put in the best jump at that obstacle and he then always had the upper hand on the run-in as he lifted this trophy for the third straight year - and took his tally of Grade 1 triumphs to 20 overall.

"His work at home suggested he was stronger than last year, even if he looked a bit heavy in the parade ring before the race," said Mullins. "The way things worked out also suited us perfectly and Ruby was spot on with his tactics.

"The onus was on Jezki to commit first here and that definitely eased our task, but you'd still say it was a better run than his final two outings last term and if he can keep reproducing that form he deserves to be in the top races."

Walsh admitted he went into the race fearing his old friend was up against it taking on the progressive young champion, but was delighted to be proved wrong.

"I was probably more pessimistic than anyone else going into this, but he again showed form is temporary and class is permanent," said the jockey. "He's also always had guts and determination."

Champion Hurdle sponsors Stan James eased Jezki out to 6/1 third favourite behind Faugheen and The New One to retain his title, while Hurricane Fly has been cut to 14/1 to turn back the clock and repeat his 2011 and 2013 Cheltenham triumphs.

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Walsh bullish over Hurricane Fly 2013 Champion Hurdle bid

Ruby Walsh hopes that Hurricane Fly can show his true colours in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham next week.

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