Racing UK

Faugheen and Annie Power feature among 10 for Irish Champion Hurdle

Thursday 5 January 2017

By staff

Faugheen and Annie Power are among 10 entries for the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle.

Faugheen, winner of the 2015 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, was brilliant in the Irish equivalent at Leopardstown last January.

However, he was unable to defend his crown at Prestbury Park due to injury and has not been seen in competitive action since.

In his Racing UK column before Christmas, Ruby Walsh said: "It won’t be too long until you see him. He looks a million dollars. Does he retain all his ability? Oh God, he does. I would not be too worried about him."

In Faugheen's absence, Annie Power was supplemented for a tilt at the two-mile hurdling showpiece at Cheltenham and ran out an all-the-way winner before following up at Aintree.

She has also not been seen on a racecourse this season but, like her stablemate, has been given the option of running at Leopardstown on January 29.

Willie Mullins who, prior to Faugheen's triumph 12 months ago, saddled the great Hurricane Fly to win a record five successive renewals, has also entered Clondaw Warrior, Diakali, Ivan Grozny, Nichols Canyon and Footpad.

The Henry de Bromhead-trained Petit Mouchoir, a former Mullins inmate, was an impressive winner of Leopardstown's Ryanair Hurdle over the festive period and could return to the Foxrock track.

Gordon Elliott's top-class mare Apple's Jade and Joseph O'Brien's Triumph Hurdle hero Ivanovich Gorbatov complete the list.

Mullins is responsible for six of the 11 entries in the Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase.

The perennial champion trainer has saddled five previous winners of the two-mile Grade One, with Un De Sceaux and Douvan the last two victors.

Heading this year's squad is Min, who has impressed in two chase starts to date, most recently running away with the Racing Post Novice Chase at this venue on December 26.

American Tom, Bleu Et Rouge, Royal Caviar, Yorkhill and prolific mare Listen Dear complete the Closutton team.

Identity Thief could bid to bounce back to form for Henry de Bromhead after pulling up when expected to challenge Min over the festive period. De Bromhead has also entered Some Plan.

The Mouse Morris-trained Baily Cloud, Gordon Elliott's Ball D'Arc and Road To Respect from Noel Meade's stable are the other contenders.


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