Mullins stars miss Cheltenham

Willie Mullins has been dealt a hammer blow with the news that both Faugheen and Min will miss the Cheltenham Festival.

Min has been ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival

Faugheen won the Stan James Champion Hurdle at the 2015 Festival, but an injury sustained after winning the 2016 Irish Champion Hurdle ruled him out of defending his Cheltenham crown.

The nine-year-old has suffered a couple of minor problems this term, meaning his intended comeback was delayed until the Irish Champion Hurdle last month.

However, another issue saw him pulled out of the race 24 hours before the event and while Mullins initially thought Faugheen had a muscle problem, the setback has proved more serious.

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"We had hoped Faugheen had just tweaked a muscle, but we've had it checked out and it's a stress fracture," said Mullins.

Min also missed an intended outing in the Irish Arkle at the end of last month and Mullins has confirmed the Grade One winner will also be an absentee in the Cotswolds next month.

He added: "Min has a bruise. Hopefully both will still make the track this season."

Sky Bet, who are betting non-runner no bet on all 28 races at the spring showpiece, reacted by installing the Mullins-trained Yorkhill as their 3/1 favourite although he also currently heads the market for the JLT Novices' Chase.

Yorkhill is also second favourite for the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy behind Altior whose hold on the top of the market has been strengthened by Min's absence.

Read More at Sporting Life

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