Decision still to be made on Hurricane Fly jockey

Ruby Walsh has still not been informed if it will be he or Paul Townend who will pick up the ride on leading Champion Hurdle fancy Hurricane Fly at the Cheltenham Festival.

Hurricane Fly is 9/2 in the Champion Hurdle betting to claim victory and he is in line to make a first career visit to the Festival after being ruled out by injury in the last two years.

Willie Mullins’ horse has won on all three starts this season, which have all been Group One victories in Ireland.

The latest of these arrived in the Irish equivalent of the Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in January, when he beat Solwhit for the fourth successive race.

Paul Townend has ridden Hurricane Fly for each of these four victories and is therefore the likely candidate to be on board again at Cheltenham.

However, with Paul Nicholls not having a serious contender in the Champion Hurdle, Walsh could be allowed to forego his stable jockey duties to accept a ride on one of the favourites.

Walsh is also a regular jockey choice for Mullins and is already assured to ride 1/1 Cheltenham betting favourite Quevega in the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle.

Furthermore, Walsh has ended four of the last five Cheltenham Festivals as the top jockey and the decision may be made by connections of Hurricane Fly that he could be more likely to secure a victory than Townend.

Walsh told Racing UK: “I haven’t talked to Willie about it – it’s a decision for him and the owners. I ride Quevega, Big Buck’s, Kauto Star and Master Minded. After that I haven’t looked at the rest of them.”

The ride will also boost Walsh’ chances of being top Cheltenham Festival jockey again, for which he is currently priced at 11/10.

A £25 stake on Peddlers Cross winning the Champion Hurdle would return £125. New customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.