Hurricane Fly beats Jezki at Leopardstown in Ryanair Hurdle
Hurricane Fly extended his world record of Grade One victories to 21 by edging out Jezki to win the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown.
The 5-6 favourite, ridden by Ruby Walsh for trainer Willie Mullins, just prevailed in the battle of the champion hurdlers.
Hurricane Fly won the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2011 and 2013, while Jezki triumphed this year.
"I think he's the best anyone has ever trained over jumps," said Mullins.
"I'll never have another horse like him. He's unique."
It was Hurricane Fly's ninth win from nine races at the Irish track.
A fourth victory in this race means he now leads the runner-up by four victories to two in their meetings.
The winner's stable companion, Arctic Fire, was not far behind the front pair in third.
|Hurricane Fly: Record breaker|
|Recent form: 11211/131/1111/1131/11111/1114-211|
|Career: Won first of his 21 Grade One races in the same year Champion Hurdle rivals Faugheen and The New One were born (2008)|
Jezki hit the front after the home turn, but Hurricane Fly, who beat his major rival in this race 12 months ago, was right in his slipstream.
When it turned into a scrap after the last hurdle, Walsh's mount denied the AP McCoy-ridden Jezki.
Although stablemate Faugheen is the ante-post Champion Hurdle favourite for the Cheltenham showpiece in March, Mullins said: "To me, he's our top Champion Hurdle horse - he has the ratings.
"Faugheen looks the one coming up, but Hurricane Fly's doing it."
Mullins said Hurricane Fly is likely to compete next in the Irish Champion Hurdle back at Leopardstown on 25 January.
Champion Hurdle, Cheltenham, 11 March 2015
Evens Faugheen, 3 The New One, 6 Jezki, 14 Hurricane Fly 20 Bar (Sponsor Stan James odds)