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A chilly start ... but red-hot fashion and a world record make for a blistering finale at Leopardstown

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Rachel Hurley

Rachel Hurley

Rachel Hurley

It WAS a cold finish to the Leopardstown races yesterday but Ruby Walsh and Hurricane Fly's epic win made up for any shivers.

Thousands of stylish race-goers came to witness the titanic rematch between Jezki and Hurricane Fly in the Grade 1 Ryanair Hurdle, which lived up to all expectations.

It was a thrilling race, but Hurricane Fly just pipped Jeski to the post, ensuring an unbeaten record of nine starts at Leopardstown, a world record of 21 Grade 1 wins, and the €100,000 prize.

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"I am over the moon, he is an incredible horse to have anything to do with," Walsh told the Herald.

"He is as tough as nails, he tries his heart out and he is very, very good. It was a great return.

"It was an honest race. He always had that bit of spirit in him. He is a wonderful horse to be allowed to ride," the jockey added.

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary, fresh from his own horses' triple win at races on Ladies' Day, welcomed the result.

"I'm delighted to see Hurricane Fly win his 21st Grade 1. It was phenomenal, brilliant," he said.

"It was great race and two fantastic horses and Jezki lost nothing in defeat either - they're clearly the two best hurdlers in Ireland and I'd say they'd be that close again in Cheltenham."

Hurricane Fly's trainer Willie Mullins had another winner when jockey Bryan Cooper won the G1 Topaz Chase aboard Doni Poli.

It was family day as the Christmas festival wrapped up yesterday and thousands came from across the country to enjoy the day out.

"It's been so much fun, I live next to a stable and I love to see all the horses racing," Kerri Cuggy-Byrne (9) said.

The Fennesseys from Waterford were hoping for a win for their horse Fairytale Theatre.

"I love all the horses and I hop Fairytale wins," Katie (12) said.

With the large crowds yesterday, more than 58,000 people descended on Leopardstown over the course of the festival.

Famous faces spotted over the weekend included Gay Byrne, Eamon Dunphy, Padriag Harington and Eve and Jordan Hewson.

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