Sunday 8 December 2019

Faugheen Champion Hurdle odds 'skimpy' - Ruby Walsh

Faugheen, with Ruby Walsh up
Faugheen, with Ruby Walsh up

Thomas Kelly

RUBY WALSH believes Faugheen represents no value to ante-post punters backing him for the Champion Hurdle after bookmakers cut his price in the wake of Saturday's impressive victory at Ascot.

Walsh was nearly motionless in the saddle as Willie Mullins' unbeaten star got his season off to a perfect start in the Coral Hurdle, but the jockey feels it was only what several other top quality hurdlers would have done.

Stiffer tasks await Faugheen as the season progresses and, although Walsh believes his mount could be well up to mixing it with the best later in the campaign, he still has a bit to prove as yet.

"He has plenty of speed for an ex-point-to-point and bumper horse but he's not coming off the Flat, he's not a Listed, 100-rated Flat horse. He's got a National Hunt background all the way so for a horse of that type he has plenty of speed," he said.

"He jumps better when he's going quicker. We can get him more accurate but he's going in the right direction.

"Do I think he should be 2/1 favourite for the Champion Hurdle? No. I don't think he did anything at Ascot that The New One, Hurricane Fly or Jezki couldn't have done. He did exactly what all those would have done in that race.

"From a punters point of view, he's pretty skimpy odds but potentially he's a very good horse. That was two-miles-three but he dropped back to two miles at Punchestown last season no problem and was very impressive.

"He has to improve a bit but I hope he'll make up into a Champion Hurdle horse. The next day, wherever he goes will be another step, you have to keep improving through the season and there is a tendency for second-season novices to do that, like Jezki last season."

"There's no reason to think Faugheen will not do that when more tests are put in front of him."

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