Faugheen: absent since winning Irish Champion Hurdle last year
PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
By Mark Scully 3.10PM 24 JAN 2017
FAUGHEEN on Tuesday featured among six entries for Sunday’s BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown as his long-awaited comeback draws ever closer.
The 2015 Champion Hurdle winner has not been seen since winning last year’s renewal of the Leopardstown feature and the toughest competition as he bids for a repeat could come from a former stablemate in the shape of Petit Mouchoir.
Now trained by Henry de Bromhead after owners Gigginstown House Stud removed all of their horses from the care of Willie Mullins, Petit Mouchoir ran out an impressive winner of the Grade 1 Ryanair Hurdle during Leopardstown’s Christmas festival.
The Mullins-trained Nichols Canyon chased Petit Mouchoir home that day and also features among the six entries for Sunday’s contest, with fellow stablemate Ivan Grozny also in the frame.
Footpad and Ivanovich Gorbatov complete the potential line-up for the €100,000 event.
Also at Leopardstown on Sunday, Mullins and De Bromhead could do battle in the day’s other feature, the Grade 1 Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase as Min and Identity Thief feature among eight entries.
The pair clashed in the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase last month, with Min winning as Identity Thief was pulled up.
Min is one of a strong string for Mullins in the €90,000 race, with the promising mare Listen Dear joined by stablemates American Tom, Bleu Et Rouge and Royal Caviar.
De Bromhead, meanwhile, could also be represented by Some Plan, while Gordon Elliott could throw his hat in the ring with Ball D’Arc.
Options for Vroum Vroum
Another Mullins heavyweight who could be seen in the coming days is Vroum Vroum Mag, who holds entries for a host of Cheltenham festival contests, including the Stan James Champion Hurdle, the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The eight-year-old is entered for Thursday’s Grade 2 John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park, as well as in Saturday’s Grade 2 olbg.com Mares’ Hurdle at Doncaster, a race won in 2014 by her stablemate Annie Power.
Statue to honour Hurricane Fly
While not taking part in any races, dual Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly will also be among the star attractions at Leopardstown on Sunday when the racecourse will unveil a bronze statue in his honour.
Unbeaten in ten Grade 1 starts at Leopardstown, Hurricane Fly won five consecutive Irish Champion Hurdles between 2011 and 2015 and he will parade before this year’s renewal at approximately 3.15pm.