Thursday 24 May 2018

Fantastic Faugheen powers to Stayers Hurdle glory as Willie Mullins enjoys another memorable day at Punchestown

Jockey David Mullins (left), trainer Willie Mullins (right) and owner Rich Ricci (centre) after Faugheen wins the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle during day three of the Punchestown Festival 2018 at Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare. Thursday April 26, 2018. Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Jockey David Mullins (left), trainer Willie Mullins (right) and owner Rich Ricci (centre) after Faugheen wins the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle during day three of the Punchestown Festival 2018 at Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare. Thursday April 26, 2018. Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Press Association

Faugheen returned to his majestic best with an impressive all-the-way win in the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown.

The former Champion Hurdle hero, trained by the red-hot Willie Mullins, relished the big step up in trip by blowing away the opposition in incredible fashion.

Faugheen was allowed an easy lead straight from the start and soon had the field well stretched out. David Mullins was able to dictate his own pace and never looked like running out of steam.

The 10-year-old, owned by Rich Ricci, has had his fair share of problems over the last couple of years, but he looked the force of old as he found another gear when pressed by his stablemate Penhill, who lifted the Stayers' Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Faugheen (11-2) put more daylight between himself and the rest up the straight, as he led home a Mullins one-two-three, with Penhill second and Shaneshill third.

Later in the evening, Footpad put in a superb round of jumping as he maintained his unbeaten record over fences in the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown.

The brilliant six-year-old had missed Aintree as he was out of sorts, but the Arkle Trophy hero showed he was 100 per cent again by galloping his rivals into the ground.

Daryl Jacob rode the Willie Mullins-trained gelding with great confidence and had the Grade One at his mercy after shrugging his old adversary Petit Mouchoir aside.

Castlegrace Paddy tried to go with the top novice, but Footpad, the 2-5 favourite, left him in his wake. It was left to Dan Skelton's 25-1 shot Optimus Prime to pick up the pieces and take second place.

Press Association

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