Footpad on course for a return to action over Christmas

Mullins plans a step up to three miles for the former Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen

Footpad, with Ruby Walsh on board,  lost his unbeaten record with a shock defeat at Naas earlier this month. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Footpad, with Ruby Walsh on board, lost his unbeaten record with a shock defeat at Naas earlier this month. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

 

Last season’s outstanding novice chaser Footpad could return to action over two miles at Christmas.

Footpad lost his unbeaten record with a shock defeat at Naas earlier this month, exiting at the final fence when looking held by Saint Calvados in a Grade Three event.

He was discovered to have suffered an over-reach afterwards with plans put on hold for a horse who looked to have had the chasing world at his feet this season.

However Willie Mullins has confirmed Footpad is back in work and may return to action at Christmas, possibly in the Grade One Paddys Rewards Club Chase on Day Two of the Leopardstown festival.

“Footpad is back riding out and the over-reach seems to be the only problem so that’s good. He could start fast work by the end of this week,” said Mullins.

“I would imagine we’re looking at Christmas with him, and I imagine it would be two miles at Leopardstown. But we’ll have to see how he is when we school him to make sure he hasn’t lost confidence,” he added.

Mullins also outlined a Christmas objective – and a step up to three miles – for the former Champion Hurdle winner, Faugheen.

He was outpointed by stable companion Sharjah on his return to action in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown earlier this month over two miles.

“The Grade One over three miles [Squared Financial Christmas Hurdle] at Leopardstown looks the obvious target,” said Mullins.

Supasunde finished runner-up to Apple’s Jade in last year’s renewal of that race before going on to win a pair of Grade Ones over two miles later in the season.

This Sunday’s Bar One Hatton’s Grace Hurdle could see Jessica Harrington’s star return to action after missing out on the Morgiana due to ground conditions being too quick.

Two entries

“It was unfortunate the ground was a shade quick at Punchestown,” reported Supasundae’s rider, Robbie Power. “The Hatton’s Grace is the race he started in last year so the plan is to start him there again. Once the ground is safe, that’s the plan.”

Supasundae and Joseph O’Brien’s Early Doors are the only two entries of the 16 left in the Hatton’s Grace at the five day stage not trained by Willie Mullins or Gordon Elliott.

Ireland’s top two trainers also dominate entries for the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle on Sunday with Elliott’s options including the unbeaten Gigginstown Stud owned horse, Commander Of Fleet.

Elliott landed last year’s Royal Bond through Mengli Khan and that one’s debut over fences is the star turn at Wednesday’s Punchestown action.

Riders Onthe Storm is another interesting newcomer to fences in the Beginners Chase but Mengli Khan made the frame in Cheltenham’s Supreme and boasts much the best hurdles form of these.

Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown team have 11 runners overall on the card including three in the opening maiden hurdle. Daly Tiger has some hurdling experience already under his belt which could prove important.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.