Faugheen on course to maintaining unbeaten record at Punchestown

Mullins has also left Hurricane Fly, Annie Power and Arctic Fire in World Series Hurdle

Faugheen is on track to try and secure a "perfect 10" by maintaining his unbeaten racecourse record at Punchestown in over two weeks' time.

It is less than two years since Willie Mullins's superstar Champion Hurdle winner made his racecourse debut at the Co Kildare track and he could head an overwhelmingly powerful Mullins team into the €200,000 Queally Group Champion Hurdle on Day Four of the upcoming festival.

Mullins has five of the eight entries left in the race, including the legendary four-time winner, Hurricane Fly, as well as the top mare Annie Power and Aintree winning novice Nicholls Canyon.

Last year's winner Jezki is in contention to retain his title but all eyes will be on Faugheen who made it nine from nine with a stunning all-the-way defeat of his stable companions, Arctic Fire and Hurricane Fly, at Cheltenham last month.


The Rich Ricci-owned gelding also won a point to point in 2012 but first announced himself as a top two-mile performer when scoring at Punchestown’s 2014 festival.

Hurricane Fly

Mullins has also left Hurricane Fly, Annie Power and Arctic Fire in the three mile Ladbrokes World Series Hurdle at Punchestown, a race which looks like being a first try at the distance for the top English horse Rock On Ruby.

"It's very much in our thoughts to have a first try over three miles. Arctic Fire unfortunately had a heavy fall at Aintree (behind Jezki) and we got caught up in the melee but it was a solid run and we were coming back at the end," said trainer Harry Fry.

“Watching the race back it looked like three miles would suit him and Noel (Fehily) felt he was coming back at them. All he was doing was staying on at the line. He deserves his chance at the trip,” he added.

Annie Power's festival options also include defending her own Grade One title in the Irish Stallion Farms Mares Hurdle, a race that could attract the Charlie Longsden Kalane while Paul Nicholls' Fred Winer winner Qualando is set to get a Grade 1 shot at the AES Four Year Old Hurdle on the final day.

“He’s done well since his race at Cheltenham and is progressing so we thought we’d give him a shot at a Grade One,” Nicholls reported.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column