Hurricane Fly – the record-breaking winner of an amazing 22 Grade1 races during a glittering career spanning ten seasons – has been retired from racing at the age of eleven, as announced by the dual Champion Hurdler’s trainer Willie Mullins, a decision endorsed by the son of Montjeu’s owners George Creighton and Rose Boyd.
The winner of 24 of his 32 races, the leading two-miler of his generation Hurricane Fly was the scourge of UK and Irish bookmakers and virtually invincible at his beloved Leopardstown, where the horse was unbeaten in ten Grade 1 contests including five Irish Champion Hurdles. Despite being ruled out of two consecutive Cheltenham Festivals his first attempt at the English Champion Hurdle came in 2011 and the mount of regular pilot Ruby Walsh justified 11-4 favouritism to run out a length and a quarter winner over Peddlers Cross.
Third behind Rock On Ruby 12 months later ‘The Fly’ was back at Prestbury Park in 2013 when, in beating the 2012 winner by two and a half lengths, the horse became the first to regain the Champion Hurdle crown since Comedy Of Errors in 1975. While Hurricane Fly possesed an abundance of class, speed and jumping ability it was the horse’s bravery which set him apart from most top class performers – past and present – of which his proud handler said: “I don’t think I have seen a horse that can battle like him.”
The official statement issued by the horse’s owners paid tribute to both the legend that is Hurricane Fly and his connections, which read: “The Creighton and Boyd families have been so privileged to own such a champion. 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 (Townsend) 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.”
The outstanding career of this remarkably consistent hurdler is unlikely to be beaten for a very long time (if ever) and the sport of National Hunt racing wishes a long and happy retirement to ‘The Fly’ who deserves nothing less.