Ruby Walsh on Faugheen at Punchestown in 2017 (file photo).
Not for the first time, Faugheen proved a favourite with the punters at Punchestown.
But was it too much to ask today, for the 11 year old making his debut over fences, to beat the competition in the Naas Oil Beginners Chase.
He wasn't impressive over hurdles last term, but punters love this gamey horse, and he was still the 8-11 favourite post race start.
Paul Townend in the saddle let Faugheen off in front, and he looked to be at his ease, until the eighth fence.
Faugheen floundered and came at the jump all wrong. Townend lost his irons but miraculously reclaimed them and steadied the 11 year old. Lord Schnitzel had taken up the lead and Faugheen's race seemed to be over, especially when he made another dodgy landing over the third last fence.
With his usual heart, he inched his way back, and cleared the final two fences at ease, and romped home to eventually win by an impressive seven and a half lengths. Walk Away stayed to take second, with Lord Schnitzel finished in third.
A huge cheer of applause for Faugheen, from the home crowd as he entered the parade, and an equally loud cheer from punters watching at Cheltenham!
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