Record-breaking hurdler Hurricane Fly retired

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  • Record-breaking Irish hurdler Hurricane Fly has been retired.

    The popular 11-year-old won 22 Grade Ones during his career and amassed an army of National Hunt fans.

    Trained by Willie Mullins, the news came on Monday (31 August).

    “Following an outstanding career, it has been agreed with the owners to retire our stable star and Grade One world record-holder,” read a statement on the trainer’s website.

    A statement from owners George Creighton and Rose Boyd added: “He has produced us with so much joy for so long and we’re delighted to retire him at this time.

    “Of course a very big thanks must go to the family that is the Mullins yard, Harold Kirk, Gail (Carlisle), Paul (Townend) and Ruby (Walsh) to name a few. The door was always open to all our family members so they could be a part of this tremendous success story.”

    In total the son of Montjeu won 24 from 32 starts over hurdles, winning nearly £1,900,000.

    Hurricane Fly’s final win was in January, when he secured his fifth win in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown, surpassing the tally set by the mighty Istabraq, who won the race four times between 1998 and 2001.

    More than 8,000 racing fans cheered in the Irish hero as he came into the winner’s enclosure following a record-breaking run.

    Hurricane Fly was a course expert, winning 10 races from 10 at Leopardstown.

    Hurricane Fly finish

    “He’s an incredible horse,” said jockey Ruby Walsh at the time.

    Hurricane Fly won the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle in 2011, and became the first horse in 38 years to regain the crown when he won again in 2013.

    2011 Cheltenham champion hurdle

    He competed in the race this year, but finished third behind stable mates Faugheen and Arctic Fire.

    “Faugheen has to be right up there with the other great horses I’ve trained. I’m not going to say he is as good as Hurricane Fly in his heyday as he has a lot more improving to do. This is only his second Grade One. He is a very good horse and probably over hurdles the second best I’ve trained,” said Willie Mullins after the race in March.

    “Hurricane Fly ran a terrific race, I thought he was going to get right into it at the second-last. I think Paul [Townend] was very happy and I was happy how he ran — no disgrace.”

    The gelding last ran in Auteil, France in June, finishing sixth out of 16.

    His first race after moving from France was in May 2008 under Ruby Walsh at Punchestown. The pair won, forming the start of a great partnership. The horse was also ridden several times by Paul Townend.

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