Faugheen in Irish Champion

Faugheen will face a maximum of five rivals if making his long-awaited return to action in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday.

Faugheen could return to action on Sunday

The Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old produced arguably the finest performance of his career to claim this Grade One prize 12 months ago.

However, he was unable to defend his crown in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham due to injury and he has not been seen in competitive action since.

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Mullins, who prior to striking gold with Faugheen won five consecutive renewals of the Irish Champion Hurdle with the great Hurricane Fly, has also left in Footpad, Ivan Grozny and Nichols Canyon.

The biggest threat to Faugheen appears to be his former stable companion Petit Mouchoir.

Now trained by Henry de Bromhead, the Gigginstown House Stud-owned grey proved much too strong for Nichols Canyon in the Ryanair Hurdle over this course and distance in December.

Joseph O'Brien's Ivanovich Gorbatov, who finished third that day, completes the confirmations.

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