One of the leading lights of National Hunt racing, the Willie Mullins-trained Faugheen, may potentially reappear in the Irish Champion Hurdle as connections remain puzzled by the 10-year-old.
The eight-time Grade One winner reappeared after almost 10 months off to land the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown in November but never travelled with any real zest or fluency at Leopardstown in the Ryanair Hurdle and was subsequently pulled-up during the race.
Nothing came to light after that disappointing run and connections seem keen to kick on with the Irish-bred gelding with the Irish Champion Hurdle next month Faugheen’s intended next engagement.
Buveur D’Air is now a short-priced favourite to retain his Champion Hurdle crown at Cheltenham in March but if Faugheen returns to form in the Irish Champion Hurdle, it will foster an interesting proposition for punters.
Speaking about the future for one of his many stable stars, Closutton handler Mullins said:
Nothing has come to light and I’m waiting on one test back with him. I was supposed to have it back last week but it was to go to England or America, but we don’t have it back yet.
It was very rare to have him gone so quick and to me, going to the second hurdle, we were wondering were the others not letting him away at the speed. Paul (Townend) said there was nothing there and he was gone early.
It wasn’t that he went three-quarters of the way and then got beaten because he had a dirty nose or lung infection, so it is unusual. I don’t know where I’m going, but he’ll get an entry for the Irish Champion Hurdle.