Can Faugheen Boss His Way To An Aintree Hurdle Win?
Aintree’s Grand National meeting begins on Thursday with four Grade 1 races down for decision at what is becoming an increasingly popular fixture and the Aintree Hurdle over 2m4f is sure to be a fascinating contest.
The Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham was deemed a three horse race between the mares Apple’s Jade and Laurina and the two-time winner Buveur D’air.
As it turned out, none of the three ever got into the mix and Buveur D’air deserves to be forgiven most as he was a faller before the race ever got serious.
Buveur D’air is the only one of the trio to pitch up here and he is the odds on favourite to win this race for a second time having given it a miss last season and winning in 2017.
The nine runners declared here make this an each-way race for punters and while the heart might be trying to rule the head, surely Faugheen is a bet here.
In the early prices the dual Champion Hurdle runner-up Melon is a shorter price for this race than Faugheen but he wasn’t in the same parish as the Champion Hurdle winner Espoir D’allen last month.
Willie Mullins felt that age might have caught up on Faugheen as he tackled the Stayers Hurdle but he still finished a very creditable third behind Paisley Park and although ending up four lengths adrift of Sam Spinner is hardly inspiring form, Faugheen just might be able to boss his way from the front around Aintree and prove very hard to reel in.
Brain Power disappointed at Cheltenham, while Ch’tibello is really stepping up in grade and must be a long shot to make the frame here.
Summerville Boy hasn’t recaptured his novice form and Verdana Blue is a good mare but still not in the league of Faugheen.
Maybe going back to two and a half miles will prove too much an ask of Faugheen and there’s no doubt that ‘The Machine’ isn’t working as well as it once did on the racecourse, but I’d still be amazed if Melon can manage to finish in front of Faugheen in this race and then it could just be a matter of how good Buveur D’air is on the day.
Supasundae deserves a mention and he’ll undoubtedly have his each-way supporters as well for BoyleSports ambassador Robbie Power as if you can ignore his Cheltenham effort he has had a solid season.
This corner at least would expect Supasundae to finish in front of Melon too, but Faugheen is the one selected and it would be some start to the meeting if he could ignite Liverpool on day one of this spectacular festival.
*Prices correct at time of publication