Tuesday 23 October 2018

Ricci: Faugheen on track for his Punchestown comeback

Faugheen and Ruby Walsh last year Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Faugheen and Ruby Walsh last year Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Thomas Kelly

Faugheen is on course to make his eagerly anticipated return to action after a 22-month lay-off in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday.

The 2015 Champion Hurdle hero has been out through injury since storming to victory in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in January 2016.

"The plan is to run next Sunday," said owner Rich Ricci.

"Everything's gone to plan. We kept him in longer than the other horses so he wouldn't gain too much weight.

"That was a good idea and he's had plenty of time. I'm very excited to see him back, by all accounts he's done well."

While plans for Faugheen are in place, options for Douvan remain fluid, as connections have yet to decide whether to step up in trip and consider races such as the King George VI Chase.

Douvan has not raced since running way below-par in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, but the horse is believed to be back to his best.

"He wasn't quite himself all last year," said Ricci. "He wasn't showing that bolshy, bullying type on the gallop or in his races and obviously it came to light at Cheltenham he just wasn't right. He seems to be back in his pomp, so it would be great to have him back. We'll talk about what we're going to do with him because there are a lot of options.

"He's entered in the King George. He could stay at two miles, he could step up in trip. It depends what happens with Min, who has summered particularly well.

"I don't know about the King George - Douvan or Djakadam.

"Douvan won't be starting off in the Tingle Creek and I imagine Djakadam will start off in the John Durkan again and take it from there."

Irish Independent

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