Hurricane Fly statue: is it a winner or a loser?

Life-size bronze sculpture of Hurricane Fly

Hurricane Fly’s new statue at Leopardstown has divided opinion

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

 By Mark Scully 3:37PM 27 JAN 2017 

WHEN you are dealing with a horse who is beloved by the racing public, finding a fitting tribute is always going to be tricky and in the days of instant and scathing social media reaction, if you get it wrong, you will hear about it.

Undeterred by that, officials at Leopardstown decided they ought to immortalise the great Hurricane Fly, who was unbeaten in ten starts when lining up at the Foxrock venue during his stellar career.

And so, on Friday morning, a striking bronze statue of the five-time Irish Champion Hurdle winner was unveiled at the course to a decidedly mixed reaction online – and one that should not have been all that hard to predict.

The weight of the sculpture is supported by the diagonal central plate but this has the unfortunate quality of looking a lot like a very high hurdle.

As a result, the great champion appears to be slamming into it chest first, something it is unlikely he would have got away with in the heat of battle.

Add in the wide-eyed look on his face and from certain angles this looks less like one of the defining stars of a generation and more like an unruly nag who has dumped his rider some three furlongs back and is now making a bold bid for freedom.

In fairness, the whole thing looks much better when viewed side on and sculptor Siobhan Bulfin has certainly captured Hurricane Fly’s dynamic, mid-air shape.

Life-size bronze sculpture of Hurricane Fly

It looks better from this angle

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

Unfortunately, not everybody has seen it that way…

“Hurricane Fly captured so beautifully in bronze, running loose and clattering into a hurdle,” tweeted Coral’s James Knight (@jamesaknight), while Richard Corbett (@the_valueator) asked: “When did Hurricane Fly run in the National? #hugehurdle.”

“Must’ve missed Hurricane Fly’s chasing exploits,” added Thomas Long (@ThomasMLong).

While others on Twitter described it as a “waste of money” and “horrendous”, Rory Delargy (@helynsar) had sympathy with the sculptor as he wrote: “I see they got an actual sculptor to do the Hurricane Fly statue at Leopardstown. Should have sent it out to tender on Twitter instead.”

Not everybody took a dim view though, with Dan Davis (@Dan_OF_Davis) tweeting: “A magnificent, unique statue, much more dramatic than the standard horse statue.”

“That is class!! Captures him in all his glory. Well done to all involved,” added Mike Murphy (@murphman52).


Sporting statues are often hit or miss. For every Dessie there’s a Michael Jackson at Craven Cottage.

Like Desert Orchid’s sculpture, which resides at Kempton for now at least, Best Mate’s likeness is a popular attraction at Cheltenham, with flowers often appearing there on Gold Cup days in the years after his death.

Less of a success is Frankie Dettori’s statue at the entrance of Ascot, commemorating his Magnificent Seven, while at the same course, a statue of Frankel was also met with a mixed reception.

Elsewhere in sport, Liverpool’s Bill Shankly statue at Anfield is a success but Southampton dropped a clanger with their original tribute to club legend Ted Bates in 2007.


Andy Murray: that is supposed to be a statue of him

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

For sheer comedy value though, it is hard to beat the effort of officials at the Rolex Masters in Shanghai, who honoured tennis great Sir Andy Murray with a terra cotta warrior in his ‘likeness’ in 2011.

Where they looking at a different Andy Murray?

Horse Racing News | Racing Post

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