Hurricane Fly sets out on the path to what could be another stellar year when he heads a field of just five runners in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday - although Jezki has not been declared.

The two-mile king recorded his second Champion Hurdle victory when regaining his crown at Cheltenham in March and he goes into this weekend's Grade One event, which he bids to win for the second time, apparently "stronger than ever", according to trainer Willie Mullins.

However, his task has been eased after connections of Jezki decided to skip the contest and wait for the Bar One Racing Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse on 1 December.

His trainer Jessica Harrington said: "Everything is fine with him. We've just decided to wait until the Hatton's Grace and step him up in trip."

Hurricane Fly heads four runners from the Mullins yard, with Marito, Midnight Game and Mikael D'Haguenet also taking their chances.

Mullins said of his dual champion: "I'm very pleased with him, he worked very well on Tuesday. We schooled him on Wednesday, he jumped very well so I'm very pleased going towards Sunday.”

Hurricane Fly will again be partnered by Ruby Walsh, who seeks a 13th success on the Montjeu gelding.

He is also full of expectation, adding: "Hurricane is in good form. He is a dual Champion winner, is very good around Punchestown and has won plenty of races around there, so we are looking forward to the race."

Michael Bowe's Akatara is the only other contender.

Hurricane Fly currently shares the record for Grade One wins in the National Hunt sphere with Kauto Star on 16.