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Cheltenham looms for Hurricane, Taquin
12:29 AEST Mon Dec 31 2012

Cheltenham is very much on the minds of connections of both Hurricane Fly and Taquin De Seuil as Grade One victories on Saturday put them firmly in the championship mix.

The Festival will be old ground for Hurricane Fly as he aims to regain the crown he relinquished in the 2012 Champion Hurdle.

He went out with a whimper that day but has roared back to his best this term, with victory in the Festival Hurdle at Leopardstown his 13th success at the highest level.

The Willie Mullins-trained eight-year-old will head for the Irish Champion Hurdle on January 27 after stretching away for a seven-length verdict from last year's winner Unaccompanied as the 1-5 favourite.

"He's a much more settled horse all round this year, with age and racing. He will come back here for the Irish Champion Hurdle before going to Cheltenham," said Mullins.

"If we can get him back to Cheltenham in the same form that he's in now, he'll have a very good chance."

On a memorable afternoon for the Mullins family, the trainer's son Patrick broke the long-standing record for the most wins in a calendar year by an Irish amateur with a double.

Taquin Du Seuil (13-8 favourite) was taking the natural step up from an easy Grade Two success at Sandown and managed to finish nine lengths clear of Easter Day despite flattening the final flight.

Only beaten once in four starts since arriving from France, he looks likely to be rested until the Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

PA A