Superstar hurdler Faugheen is on course to make his eagerly anticipated reappearance in Sunday’s Grade 1 Unibet Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown.
The 2015 Champion Hurdler has been absent since January of last year but is on course to line up in the first Grade 1 hurdle race of the season as he heads a list of eight entries for the prestigious race.
Faugheen has won 12 of his 13 outings and owner Rich Ricci is looking forward to getting the nine-year-old back to Punchestown for the Morgiana Hurdle.
“All seems to be going well at the moment with Faugheen and the plan is to run him on Sunday,” Ricci confirmed.
“Fingers crossed, everyone seems to be happy with him and that will be very exciting - we have unfinished business in the Morgiana Hurdle!
“He won’t have run for 600 days but getting him back and seeing him fit and well would be wonderful and great for the people of Ireland to be able to go to Punchestown and see him. He’s a lovely horse and he is something special so we are looking forward to getting him back on Sunday and building on that.”
Faugheen’s only ever defeat came in the Morgiana Hurdle of 2015 when beaten by stable companion Nichols Canyon and the eight time Grade 1 winner is included in the entires for a possible hat-trick in the race.
Yorkhill and Vroum Vroum Mag make up a very strong entry for champion trainer Willie Mullins, while last month’s Tipperary winner Jezki is also in the potential line up for Sunday’s feature race and is one of two potential runners for owner JP McManus who’s Campeador may return to Punchestown after making a winning return last month.
His trainer Gordon Elliott said; “At the moment Campeador definitely runs. We were delighted with him at Punchestown the last day and to get his head back in front and Sunday will be a step up for him again but we’ll know where we are going for the season after that. Apple’s Jade was left in the race but she only ran Sunday and I wouldn’t say she’ll run.”
November Handicap winner Swamp Fox completes the entires for Joe Murphy and there is a cracking support card at Punchestown on Sunday with the Grade 2 Liam & Valerie Florida Peal Novice Chase looking a vintage renewal including Gordon Elliott’s Death Duty.
The highly touted six-year-old won the Grade 3 Buck House Novice Chase and is in line to return to Punchestown for his third start over fences.
“I haven’t got a look at the two novice chases yet but it’s quite possible Death Duty could turn up at Punchestown on Sunday. He did it well around there last month and the experience of another run there wouldn’t do him any harm. He’s been in great form since Punchestown and at the moment I’d be thinking he could go there Sunday.”
Pat Kelly’s Cheltenham Festival winner Presenting Percy is also among the five-day acceptors for the Florida Pearl Novice Chase while in the Ryans Cleaning Craddockstown Novice Chase owners Gigginstown House Stud hold a strong hand with four of the eight entries including Henry de Bromhead’s two-time chase winner Calino D’airy.
The Frontline Security Grabel Mares Hurdle is the feature on Saturday’s Punchestown card with 10 mares going forward for the listed contest including the Cheltenham Festival winner Let’s Dance.
The Punchestown Winter Festival takes place Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th November. In addition to two days of top class racing there will be free family fun, live music after racing, Race & Dine packages and complimentary coach transfers to Naas after racing. A direct transfer service from Dublin city centre is also available for both days.
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