Faugheen can strike for the punters on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival
Willie Mullins is fooling nobody with his claim that Hurricane Fly is the stable’s number one Champion Hurdle hope, with the Irish warrior a true National Hunt legend although time is not on his side.
Step forward Faugheen who destroyed the field in last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and should step up in class to beat the likes of The New One and Jezki when it comes to Tuesday’s principal race of the Festival.
Paddy Power offer Champion Hurdle betting odds of 5/4 for a victory for this potential machine who is one of the Rich Ricci portfolio that could once again take Cheltenham by storm after the owner celebrated multiple successes last year.
Ruby Walsh recently said: “Christmas was a bit up and down for me but at least I hit the target with Faugheen at Kempton on Boxing Day.
“He did what he had to do and was very impressive – even if the opposition probably wasn’t Champion Hurdle standard.”
Indeed, Faugheen’s fanbase even extends to Sam Twiston-Davies who rides The New One but realises he may have his work cut out when it comes to the big race.
“I keep trying to find reasons not to be impressed but he took my breath away,” admitted Sam Twiston-Davies. “Our fella has beaten good horses and now he’s done it.”
The Racing Post columnist added: “I suppose some may have underperformed, although he beat Purple Bay easily. Two miles was no problem and he looked very good. But we won’t be frightened of him and we’ll give it a good go.”
The New One is a 5/2 chance to claim the spoils, with the horse having had some misfortune twelve months ago when hampered by the ill-fated Our Conor before chasing Jezki up on the hill.
There doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of competition aside from the front three in the betting and Jezki might well feature in the frame although they will all be chasing Faugheen up the hill.
Faugheen to win the Champion Hurdle @ 5/4 with Paddy Power