• Horse Racing

Hurricane Fly bags Morgiana pot

ESPN staff
November 18, 2012
Hurricane Fly made a winning return at Punchestown © Getty Images

Hurricane Fly made a winning seasonal return when making all the running to land the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown.

The former Champion Hurdle winner was take on by only two opponents and was forced to make his own running in the Grade One event.

He was faced with a top-class opponent in Go Native and had a fight on his hands when his main rival crashed out at the final flight.

It appeared as if Ruby Walsh had a bit left in the tank on Hurricane Fly for the run-in, but he was allowed to coast home following the departure of Go Native.

Walsh and winning trainer Willie Mullins teamed up to land the Florida Pearl Novice Chase with Back In Focus who produced a relentless display of galloping in the Grade Wo contest.

The defection of Sprinter Sacre robbed the Shloer Chase of much of its lustre but it saw an impressive display from Wishfull Thinking who survived a shocking blunder at the first fence to thrash Doeslessthanme for trainer Philip Hobbs and jockey Richard Johnson.

"I'm delighted," Hobbs said. "The main problem for a long time has been his breathing - he's had three breathing operations. But this season he has been better with his breathing. We had a scare at the first fence, but he did it well."

Captain Conan made an impressive fencing debut in the Racing Post Arkle Trial. Nicky Henderson's charge jumped well in the sticky ground at Cheltenham and showed a willing attitude after the last to fend off Sire De Grugy.

"I don't think he touched a twig but I would have been disappointed if he had," Henderson said. "I looked after him last season and we didn't take him to Cheltenham (in March) because this is what we had been waiting for. We've got Simonsig to come and those are the two (Arkle horses)."

After a string of near misses in top handicaps, Olofi came good to land the Racing Post Hurdle.

Olofi travelled well for Paddy Brennan and survived a moment of alarm running to the last when he was hampered by Bothy. Brennan switched his mount and he gallopped up the hill to beat Cash And Go a shade cosily.

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