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Faugheen faultless in Christmas canter

Champion Hurdle favourite Faugheen, further strengthened his posistion at the head of the market with an effortless victory in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, the pre-cursor to the King George. Unbeaten in six racecourse starts, including victory in the Neptune at last season’s Cheltenham Festival, Faugheen was sent off the 4/11 under Ruby Walsh and made that look like value in thye end with an eased down 8 length win.


The outsider of the field, Blue Heron had set a very generous gallop from the front but Faugheen seemed to be just cantering away in behind with the field well strung out early on. Faugheen eventually pulled himself to the front after the turn for home. Blue Heron’s challenge faded and Purple Bay was being urged along to move into second.


It made no difference what was happening in behind in the end. Walsh loosened the reigns slightly on Faugheen and they quickly put about ten lengths between them and field. They eventually cantered over the line 8 lengths clear of Purple Bay with Blue Heron staying on for third.


Winning jockey,Walsh said: “He jumped great barring the last, but the race was over. He does not lack speed or pace.


“He won at Punchestown and people forget that is a fast hurdle track, he won a two-mile novice there so the form was there for all to see.


“He’s a very good horse and a pleasure to ride.


“I suppose it was a big decision in October whether it was him or Vautour that stayed hurdling.”


Delighted owner,Rich Ricci said: “That was good to watch.


“It was a big test today but he was very impressive and we’re lucky to have him, he’s something else.


“He was very big at Ascot but there’s such a difference in his weight this year, he came back in from summer much stronger.


“He’s something to look forward to, that’s for sure.”

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