Tuesday 23 January 2018

Faugheen giving Ruby the right signs

Ruby Walsh. Photo: Sportsfile
Ruby Walsh. Photo: Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Judging by his progress at home, there is no fear of Faugheen not racing again, according to Ruby Walsh.

The brilliant 2015 Champion Hurdle winner, not seen since bolting up in the Irish Champion in early 2016, has been kept busy over the summer and the jockey that knows him best is liking what he sees.

"Faugheen looked unbeatable the last time he ran. He is in great order, looks in good form and is a cracking racehorse," said a bullish Walsh.

When put to him that it would be a shame were racegoers not to see the son of Germany again, the champion rider said: "If he keeps going the way he is going, he'll be back. There is nothing to suggest he won't."

Another horse soon to return from a spell sidelined is Douvan, which suffered injury when losing his unbeaten chase record in the Queen Mother at the Cheltenham Festival, with trainer Willie Mullins recently reporting him in "tip-top shape".

Walsh enthused: "Douvan looks really well, Willie hasn't let me ride him yet but he's in great order."

He added that Limini was "in great form" and described recent Kilbeggan winner Sayar as "a fine big horse".

The trainer, meanwhile, had news of last year's Albert Bartlett winner, which swerved a summer campaign after reportedly disappointing in his homework. "Penhill has had a longer summer break and will start back shortly," he told the Irish Independent.

On the Flat scene, Ulysses, Highland Reel and Order Of St George are among 20 horses to stand their ground at the first forfeit stage for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Ulysses has struck twice at Group One level this season, landing the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown and the Juddmonte International at York.

The four-year-old is general second-favourite for Sunday's race at Chantilly behind Enable, which will need to be supplemented tomorrow at a cost of €120,000.

John Gosden has withdrawn Great Voltigeur and Prix Niel hero Cracksman. Highland Reel and Order Of St George, second and third respectively last year, are among a seven-strong team for Aidan O'Brien, who has left Clemmie, Happily and Butterscotch in contention for Saturday's Juddmonte Cheveley Park at Newmarket.

Irish Independent

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