Unbeaten Record To Continue For Faugheen The Machine
Mares Champion Hurdle
Such was the impression that Faugheen created in winning the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham 52 days ago, that he has scared Hurricane Fly from Friday’s Punchestown Champion Hurdle (5.30) – a tip in itself?
Faugheen To Put Out Fire
Willie Mullins’ hurdling machine took his record to 8-8 in mopping up a fourth Grade 1 last time, where he came over 1l clear of stablemate, Arctic Fire (4/1).
A winner on all types ground, and at every kind of track, including over C&D at last year’s festival, it’s hard to knock Faugheen in any way, hence why his odds to make it 9-9 are 1/4.
Some may argue that Arctic Fire was gaining on Faugheen at Cheltenham, when going down by over 1l, but it’s also possible Faugheen idled a touch once hitting the front. That’s not to take anything away from Arctic Fire, who since fell at Aintree when leading at the last, but his 2-12 win ratio is a touch concerning.
Arctic Fire looks set to go off at the right end of the market based on recent renewals, anyway, as fancied runners pretty much dominated this event down the years…
Of the last 10 Champion Hurdle winners…
9 returned 4/1 or shorter
9 won four times or more over 2m
9 ran in a Grade 1 last time
9 made the top three last time
8 were officially rated 157 or higher
8 were Irish-bred
8 won during their last three runs
W Mullins won it four times, Jessica Harrington twice
Jezki Tries Again
Jezki would be respected if turning up here, despite being beaten 8l by Faugheen at Cheltenham, and it would be hard to see him reversing that form following a hard season.
David Pipe may well let the 6yo, Dell ‘Arca (20/1), take his chance, but he would need to show dramatic improvement on recent outings (fell at Cheltenham and only seventh at Aintree) is getting involved. The same comments apply to Tiger Roll, who hasn’t progressed this season.
Surely a fifth Grade 1 is there for Faugheen’s taking should he put in the kind of performance seen at Cheltenham. Willie Mullins knows what it takes to win this race having done so on four occasions since 2005, and the odds suggests that record could be enhanced.