Faugheen heads Champion 23
Ante-post favourite, Faugheen heads a 23 strong entry list for this season’s Champion Hurdle, the highlight on day one of the Cheltenham Festival which is now just eight weeks away. Last year’s Neptune winner will be looking to emulate the likes of Hardy Eustace and Istabraq in winning both races and will arrive at Prestbury Park in top condition after two bloodless victories at Ascot and Kempon.
Faugheen, unbeaten in eight racecourse starts, is one of seven entries from the yard of Irish Champion Trainer, with the two time Champ Hurricane Fly the stand-out name among the remainder. Now eleven years of age, ‘The Fly’ has again rolled back the years this season, twice besting last year’s Champion Hurdle winner Jezki in the Morgiana Hurdle and the Ryanair Hurdle.
Last year’s Supreme Novices winner, Vautour has also received an entry, as has the impressive Un De Sceaux, despite the pair enjoying good debut season’s over fences. The brilliant Annie Power, last year’s World Hurdle runner-up, is also in the entries for Mullins, who’s contingent is completed by Arctic Fire and Diakali.
The defending Champion, Jezki is also among the entries, as is last year’s unlucky third The New One who is the current ante-post second favourite at 5/2. Nicky Henderson can call on either Vaniteaux or Sign Of A Vicory, whilst Paul Nicholls has Fighting Fifth winner, Irving and Calipto.
Others of note include last year’s Triumph Hurdle winner Tiger Roll for Gordon Elliott, the Dan Skelton trained pair of Blue Heron and Bertimont and the Aidan O’Brien trained Plinth, another possible runner for defending winning owner J.P McManus.
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