Saturday 15 December 2018

Faugheen on track to make Dublin return

 

Faugheen, with Paul Townend up, clears the last first-time round, before subsequently pulling up in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Faugheen, with Paul Townend up, clears the last first-time round, before subsequently pulling up in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

Faugheen's substandard display at Leopardstown over Christmas still perplexes champion trainer Willie Mullins but after passing a battery of tests, the 'Machine' is on course for next month's Dublin Racing Festival at the Foxrock track.

Mullins was left clutching at straws after an off-colour Faugheen was pulled up in the Ryanair Hurdle but the Closutton handler is "very happy" with the health of the 2015 Champion Hurdle winner.

Should he show the right signals, the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle will be his next port of call as they step up preparations for Cheltenham and Mullins has no concerns about running his stable star as long as his home work is up to scratch.

"I'm hoping that if he works well at home and if nothing else comes up, I won't have any worries," Mullins said yesterday.

"We're very happy with him, well as happy as can be expected at the moment so the next step up is to do a little bit of fast work this week.

"If he passes that test I can't see why we wouldn't do faster work and see where we are then.

"We'll be aiming to have a go there (at Leopardstown next month). We've been just minding him and giving him a little break."

Faugheen remains clear second favourite to reigning champion Buveur D'Air for March's Champion Hurdle.

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