The jumps season has landed & is in full swing with racing at Cheltenham & Punchestown this weekend. Hurricane Fly lined up against current champion hurdler Jezki in a thrilling race for the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown. Jezki was backed off the board prior to the race with confidence the six year old could display champion hurdle form. Hurricane Fly made some small errors but came over the last well to win coming away from Jezki. Hurricane Fly's third success in the Morgiana Hurdle took his grade 1 victory tally to an incredible 20. Nothing was going to stop the dual champion hurdle winner, two miles in the soft. Prior to the race there was talk of stepping Hurricane Fly up to a further distance if he was beat. With Sundays victory Willie Mullins has endless options for his ten year old.(watch the full race below)
Alan Kings Uxizandre looked smart in the Shloer Chase. A clean round of jumping, saw him gain ground on his rivals over every obstacle. Over the last, Uxizandre continued sweetly as Barry Geraghty headed up the hill without fuss. Simply Ned wasn't going to catch Uxizandre but did well to hold off Nicholls' Dodging Bullets by a neck. The drop to two miles looked ideal for the 6 year old who also relished the testing ground at Cheltenham on Sunday. Richard Johnson had an outstanding weekend saddling an impressive seven winners over the three days. The most enjoyable for me had to be little Balthazar King. What the horse lacks in size, he certainly makes up for in heart. He has become somewhat of a Cheltenham specialist racking up his eighth win at the course. Trainer Philip Hobbs has said his target now will be the Grand National after going close a second at the Aintree meeting in April. "You'd love to come here for the Festival, but we thought that if he hadn't run in it this year he might have gone closer (than second) in the National".