Ruby Walsh excited about Faugheen's return to the track

Mon 22 Oct 2018

Ruby Walsh reports Faugheen to be in tip-top shape and is excited at being reunited with the 2015 Champion Hurdle hero in the coming winter.

The Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse on December 2 is a possible early-season target for the 10-year-old.

Faugheen put a fairly disappointing campaign behind him when bouncing back with victory in the Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown when stepped up to three miles.

David Mullins was in the saddle that day as Walsh was injured.

Ruby Walsh has not ridden Faugheen since finishing sixth in the Champion Hurdle
Ruby Walsh has not ridden Faugheen since finishing sixth in the Champion Hurdle

“Faugheen is in terrific order and his two performances in Punchestown last season were outstanding,” Walsh told Paddy Power.

“Like most animals and humans, he’s probably got a fraction slower.

“He looks 100% and maybe something like the Hatton’s Grace will be a possible starting point.

“He also has the option of going chasing so that will be an interesting conversation when it happens,” he added.

Quevega and Annie Power were stars for Willie Mullins in recent years and Walsh feels Laurina, winner of the Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, could be one to fill the boots of those brilliant performers.

Watch Laurina bolt up in the Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival

“She has summered really well and she looks a picture. Whether she will be trained as a Champion Hurdle mare or a Mares’ Hurdle mare, only time will tell,” he said.

“She looked our best novice last year, but has to step up to open company now. She has got big boots to fill, but you’d be hoping that she’d be up there with the best mares we’ve had in the past.

“You’re looking for the next superstar and you’re hoping it could be her.”

Walsh is also expecting big things from Benie Des Dieux, who took the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle and the Annie Power Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown.

Benie Des Dieux showed a great attitude to win the Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham

“Benie Des Dieux can mix it between hurdles and fences and she was great when winning the Mares’ Hurdle (at Cheltenham) having not run over hurdles for so long,” he said.

“She went to Punchestown and sluiced up and she’s an outstanding mare. She’s summered really well and every door is open for her.

“She’s proved herself at Grade One level over hurdles already and she’s hugely exciting.”

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