|Monday 17th February 2020|
Faugheen Maintains His Unbeaten Record Over Fences
It was one of the most popular results of recent times, as Faugheen defied the statistics to win another Grade One at the age of 12. He truly is an all-time great of National hunt racing. He entered the current campaign having been pulled up in the Aintree hurdle at the end of last season, with many believing it could be the end for the horse. Faugheen is the best hurdler we have seen since Istabraq and ran to an RPR of 177, when landing the 2016 running of the Irish Champion hurdle by 15 lengths. Connections always believed he would excel over fences and wish they had now done this at an earlier stage.
Following a 226 day break, Faugheen made his first start over the larger obstacles in a Beginners Chase at Punchestown. Sent off at odds of 8/11, he was expected to win but had to bounce back following being pulled up in his previous start. He led before making a bad mistake at the 8th fence, which nearly unseated Paul Townend who also lost his irons in the process. The horse then recovered but made further errors at three and two out. Faugheen then made effortless headway to lead at the last and only had to be pushed out to win by just over seven lengths. It was a weak event but considering the errors, it was a very impressive return for ‘the machine’.
Next up for Faugheen was a first Grade One over fences at Limerick and a much anticipated head to head with Samcro. The latter was made the 4/6 favourite, with Faugheen available at 2/1. The pair duelled throughout and both travelled well going to three out. However, Samcro was soon off the bridle and being pushed along, as Faugheen effortlessly drew clear on the bridle. He was then ridden clear and stayed on powerfully to win by 10 lengths. It was difficult to assess the form, as Samcro continues to disappoint. However, there is little doubt that it was an impressive victory for Faugheen as he continued his incredible rise back up to the top. This victory also led for support in the festival markets, with punters using bet365 Cheltenham offers for 2020. His most likely target being the Marsh.
Finally, Faugheen returned most recently by contesting the Grade One Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown. He was sent off as the joint favourite with the Gordon Elliott trained Battleoverdoyen, with a whole host of challengers that included the likes of Tornado Flyer and Easy Game. It was close throughout the race, before Faugheen took up the running from two out travelling well. He was not fluent at the last, as Easy Game looked to challenge on the opposite side of the track. Both horses then battled it out up the straight, as Faugheen held on by half a length. It was a truly special occasion and one that will be remembered for some time. This meant an incredible 11th Grade One for the horse.
Next up for Faugheen will likely see him contest the Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham festival. He is the general 5/1 favourite for the race and is going to prove popular, as he looks to further enhance his incredible legacy.