Zuzka to fly home
Our Irish Eyes column focuses on Sunday's card at Leopardstown featuring the Irish Champion Hurdle.
By Irish Eyes
Last Updated: 26/01/13 4:34pm
Hurricane Fly seeks a hat-trick of wins in Sunday's BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown and barring accidents, he will win this at his ease. Willie Mullins is on record as stating he is a stronger and more settled horse this year. When one considers last year's campaign, it is obvious that there were little problems that prevented him for competing for his early season targets.
No such problems have emerged this year ,however, and you can include him in any double, treble or multiple you like and he won't let you down. When Hurricane Fly runs in Ireland, it's simply a matter of buying money and at 2/7 you'll get a 28.57% return for your money in a little over 4 minutes, which is a heck of a lot better than you would get from any other financial institution!
Nevertheless, we need to provide better-priced winners than that and Hurricane Fly's stablemate, Zuzka is a very confident NAP choice for the Frank Ward Solicitors Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle. Zuzka finished a mere two and a half lengths behind the subsequent Grade 1 winning Jezki and last year's Cheltenham bumper winner Champagne Fever on her penultimate start in the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
She then demolished a decent field of mares in a Grade Three hurdle at Leopardstown last time out, providing Patrick Mullins with a record breaking win for an Irish amateur rider in a calendar year. Patrick thanked Ruby Walsh for allowing him to take the ride on Zuzka on that occasion and with a new record safely established by Mullins, Walsh is back in the saddle again on Sunday.
Mullins is for my money easily the best National hunt trainer in the UK or Ireland and a lot of his success is down to placing his horses. Zuzka is another prime example of his skills as she doesn't even have to carry a Graded race penalty in this, despite the fact that she has won at a higher level (even if she had, she would still win, but you get my point!).
We could talk about this race all day long but the simple fact is there is nothing in the race that would get within as ass's roar of Jezki or Champagne Fever and therefore Zuzka is quite simply the bet of the weekend, a weekend that promises to be dominated by the Mullins yard.
Sunday Selections (Leopardstown):
Zuzka (NAP) - 12.55
Hurricane Fly - 1.55