Faugheen signs are ‘positive’

Rich Ricci is 'very hopeful' that Faugheen will make his seasonal reappearance in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle on January 29.

Faugheen could make his eagerly awaited return to action

The brilliant nine-year-old has only been beaten once in 12 starts under Rules but hasn't been seen on a racecourse since winning last season's renewal of the Irish Champion Hurdle.

Trainer Willie Mullins has had several small setbacks with Faugheen who has been forced to miss several engagements as a result.

However the gelding's owner, Ricci, issued a more positive bulletin in his blog for BetBright.

"I am very hopeful we will see Faugheen in the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle on January 29th. We are not there yet, but the signs are positive," said the chairman of the online bookmakers.

Ricci and Mullins enjoyed a successful Christmas period with their horses although the pair did meet with a notable reverse on Sunday when American Tom took a heavy fall at Naas but Ricci revealed that performance can be ignored.

"American Tomtook a bad fall and is fine physically but we can put a line through that run as he was coughing post-race," he said.

The pair are still represented by a leading player in the novice chase division in the shape of Min and his owner is hopeful of getting revenge on Altior at the Cheltenham Festival in March following his impressive performance at Leopardstown on Boxing Day.

"He was electric and I have rarely seen Ruby [Walsh] so animated on the run in.

"While we were beaten in the Supreme last year I think he had to race and battle for arguably his first time, and as we know suffered a season ending injury mid race. He has demonstrated a tractability and intelligence over fences that I don't think we saw last season and has really grown up.

"Touch wood, he will probably go to Leopardstown again for the Frank Ward Arkle before Cheltenham and another battle with Altior who looks exceptional and is a deceptively big horse who really fills the eye – it's easy to see why they went chasing with him.

"We have a bit to find with him but they both look better chasers than hurdlers and we are looking forward to taking him on again."

Read More at Sporting Life

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