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08 May 2021

Faugheen’s magnificent seven

08 May 2021

News of Faugheen’s retirement comes as a shock to nobody, but it should not be forgotten just how good he was in his pomp. Here, we select seven of the Willie Mullins-trained star’s greatest successes in the colours of Rich and Susannah Ricci:

Neptune Novices’ Hurdle, Cheltenham 2014

Faugheen on his way to winning the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (PA Archive)

Faugheen brought a tall reputation to his first Festival and did not disappoint, powering clear of the opposition after the third-last flight to justify his short price and capture the first of nine Grade One races over hurdles.

Champion Hurdle, Cheltenham 2015

Faugheen jumps the final flight on his way to victory in the 2015 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham (PA Archive)

Given an enterprising ride by Ruby Walsh, Faugheen led all the way to show he was the best hurdler around with a dominating display. His length-and-a-half verdict over Arctic Fire did not do him justice and he stretched that to eight at the Punchestown Festival.

Christmas Hurdle, Kempton 2015

Faugheen with connections after landing the Christmas Hudle at Kempton (PA Archive)

After suffering a shock defeat to fellow Mullins inmate Nichols Canyon in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown, Faugheen hit back with a typically brilliant performance, beating The New One by seven length.

Morgiana Hurdle, Punchestown 2017

The long-absent Faugheen was magnificent in the 2017 Morgiana Hurdle (PA Archive)

Faugheen had been off for 665 days when he finally got back to the course – but you would not have guessed as he did just what was expected of him against three rivals at odds of 4-11, coming home 16 lengths clear of Jezki.

Champion Stayers Hurdle, Punchestown 2018

Jockey David Mullins gives the thumbs up after guiding Faugheen to success in the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown (PA Archive)

Stepped up to three miles for the first time since winning at the trip in December 2013, Faugheen showed he still retained plenty of ability as he made all the running to lower the colours of his stablemate Penhill, who had taken the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham the previous month.

Naas Oil Beginners Chase, Punchestown

Faugheen in the winner's enclosure after his debut chasing win at Punchestown

Faugheen began his chasing career at the age of 11 with his share of doubters, and those who believed he perhaps should already have been retired after a famous career over hurdles. He had to overcome a bad early mistake to win by almost eight lengths at Punchestown – and a month later he duly added to his remarkable Grade One catalogue with success on his second start over fences at Limerick on Boxing Day. It was touted as a head-to-head with Gordon Elliott’s Samcro – who was sent off odds-on favourite – but it was not close as Patrick Mullins surged 10 lengths clear at the line.

Flogas Novice Chase, Leopardstown 2020

Faugheen, jockey Paul Townend and groom John Codd celebrate after his Flogas Novice Chase victory at the Dublin Racing Festival (PA Wire)

On to the Dublin Racing Festival, and Faugheen proved peerless under Paul Townend – seeing off stablemates Easy Game and Tornado Flyer by half a length and six lengths, as joint-favourite Battleoverdoyen weakened before falling at the last. A hero’s reception erupted en route to the winner’s enclosure.

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