Buveur d'Air cements favourite status
The Champion Hurdle in March was taking on the look of a one-horse race last night after the title holder Buveur d'Air won with a minimum at fuss at Sandown while former champion Faugheen was beaten by Supasundae, an 8/1 shot not even entered in the Champion, in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown.
Even though it was a lot better than his last effort when pulled up at Christmas, Faugheen, now 10, could never quite shake off his field, and in particular the persistent Supsundae, last year's Coral Cup winner who was dropping back to two miles in the hope it would sharpen him for the Stayers Hurdle.
Both horses winged the last but it was the superior stamina of the Jessica Harrington-trained winner, carrying the colours of the late Alan Potts, which won the day by two and a half lengths.
"It was a nice preparation for Cheltenham," said the trainer. "We'll still go three miles there, he's not a natural speed horse. It's a while since he won a race over two miles."
Faugheen may still go to Cheltenham as Ireland's best hope in the Champion Hurdle but Willie Mullins, who otherwise had a good day, will need to have him better again if he is to trouble Buveur d'Air who is now as short as 2/5.
"I'm disappointed with him," said Mullins. "He will have to improve a lot to be back where he was."
The reigning champion expended barely more effort than he would put in on a normal work morning in Lambourn when he beat John Constable a length and a quarter in the Betfred Contenders Hurdle at Sandown.
Barely out of second gear, the only drama was when Barry Geraghty started easing him up half way up the run-in and, on nasty ground, Buveur d'Air took it as the signal to pull up. "I was dossing as much as he was!" joked Geraghty afterwards. Telegraph
Sunday Indo Sport