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Faugheen return nears as bookies run for cover

FAUGHEEN will return to action on Sunday if he comes through his work satisfactorily this week.

The 2015 Champion Hurdle winner will tackle the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown - a race he was sensational in 12 months ago, his last public appearance.

A bruised foot ruled out his comeback in the Morgiana in November and his work has generally been underwhelming since. However, trainer Willie Mullins was upbeat, saying: "All being well he'll run. He's in good form; he'll do a good bit of work during the week, I hope. As long as he's able to do that we'll let him take his chance."

Faugheen is now at 7/4 and as short as 5/4 for the Stan James Champion Hurdle in March.

Faugheen is unlikely to take on Apple's Jade - which beat another Mullins runner in Vroum Vroum Mag when last seen - on Sunday. Gordon Elliott is pursuing other options with her but is delighted with both the filly and Don Poli, which will go for the Stan James Irish Gold Cup on January 12.

"I couldn't be happier with him," Elliott said. "He was out hunting there on Thursday."

Elliott believes that his Goffs Thyestes candidate Prince Of Scars is well treated but he would prefer a different weather forecast between now and Thursday, when Gowran stages its main race of the season.

"He'll run as long as the ground is not too quick, but I'd be much happier if there were rain coming," Elliott admitted.

He will likely take on the Mullins-trained The Crafty Butcher if that one gets in. Little rain is expected and the chase track was soft yesterday.

Meanwhile, Edelpour, bought out of Dermot Weld's by Barry Connell on Champions Weekend for €450,000 in 2015, will not run any time soon. Trainer Alan Fleming said: "He is going to be a different project. We'll give him a bit of time as he's grown a lot. He may run in the summer."

Irish Independent