‘Long road’ ahead for Arctic Fire
Top-class hurdler Arctic Fire is not certain to return to the racecourse this season after failing to fully recover from an injury suffered earlier in the year.
Arctic Fire: Still on the injury list
The Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old enjoyed his best campaign to date last season, winning the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan and the Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse to record his first Grade One victory.
He disappointed when stepped up to three miles over Christmas, but chased home esteemed stable companion Faugheen in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in January to set up a return to the Cheltenham Festival.
However, just days after defending champion Faugheen was ruled out of the Champion Hurdle, Arctic Fire – who was second in the two-mile showpiece last year – was found to have chipped a bone in his leg and he too missed the rest of the season.
Owner Nick Peacock said: "He hasn't gone back into training yet. He did go back briefly, but they found there was still a bit of heat in his leg. It's going to be a long road, unfortunately.
"Hopefully we'll get him back in the end. We'll see where are in a couple of months.
"He's on very light duties at the moment, on the walker and things like that."
Asked whether he thought Arctic Fire would return before the end of this season, the owner added: "I honestly don't know.
"I suppose if things go well, he could go back into training in January, but he wouldn't go back any earlier than that.
"It's going to be late in the season, if at all."
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