Tuesday 23 January 2018

Faugheen makes winning return at Punchestown after 665 days away from the track

24 January 2016; Faugheen, with Ruby Walsh up, on their way to winning the BHP Insurances Irish Champion Hurdle. Leopardstown Racecourse, Leopardstown, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
24 January 2016; Faugheen, with Ruby Walsh up, on their way to winning the BHP Insurances Irish Champion Hurdle. Leopardstown Racecourse, Leopardstown, Co. Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Gary Carson

Faugheen made an impressive return to action in the Unibet Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown.

The 2015 Champion Hurdle hero could not have been more convincing in the Grade One contest, as he made his eagerly-awaited comeback after 665 days on the sidelines.

Paul Townend, deputising on Willie Mullins' star for the injured Ruby Walsh, let Faugheen bowl along in front and once he asked him to go and put the race to bed, the 4-9 favourite fairly sprinted clear.

Jezki, another former Champion Hurdle victor, was a distant second. Campeador fell at the last when well out of contention.

Faugheen was cut to 5-2 favourite from 5-1 for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March by Paddy Power, with Betfair 11-4 from 5-1.

Townend said: "He was deadly, unbelievable - he looks as good as ever.

"I wanted to keep it simple, I thought I was on the best horse and the best way to get him beat was to complicate it. It worked out - he's a very, very good horse.

"He's the real deal."

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