Friday 23 August 2019

Harrington delight but Mullins coy over Faugheen


Trainer Jessica Harrington. Photo: Sportsfile
Trainer Jessica Harrington. Photo: Sportsfile

Thomas Kelly

Supasundae banished Jessica Harrington's fears that history might be about to repeat itself as he instead ensured she outdid her close friend Nicky Henderson in the Betway Aintree Hurdle.

After filling the runner-up spot behind Henderson's L'Ami Serge in the Grade One 12 months ago, Supasundae this time got the better of a protracted battle with dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air in a race full of drama.

With multiple Grade One winner Faugheen pulled up sharply by Ruby Walsh just after the field headed out on to their final circuit, there was more woe for trainer Willie Mullins when stablemate and Champion Hurdle runner-up Melon took a crashing fall at the third-last.

Supasundae led over the last and prevailed by a length and a quarter despite being pushed all the way by Buveur D'Air, bidding to bounce back from his Champion Hurdle fall. The nine-year-old's win followed his seventh place in the Stayers' Hurdle.

Harrington said: "He just wasn't himself at Cheltenham. That was the first bad race he has run for me. I wasn't coming here with great confidence, because I wasn't sure what went wrong at Cheltenham - but he was great there."

Supasundae may now drop back to two miles to defend the Punchestown Champion Hurdle.

For Faugheen, the future is less than certain although Mullins is hoping his veteran former champion can return. Ruby Walsh pulled him up once he realised the gelding was not himself, and a post-race examination found he was suffering with a fibrillating heart.

"We will get him home and that could clear up in 24 hours," Mullins said. "Ruby said he flew down to the start and it was like someone then turning off a light switch."

Irish Independent

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