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The significance of one last hurrah for FaugheenPosted on Monday 10th September 2018 @ 10.03

Cheltenham, Champion Day 2018....the time inches closer towards 3.30pm and the crowd’s energy levels begin to pick up again.

It's always a long day at the Festival – tired feet, queues at the bars and beaten dockets all add to a sense of fatigue with the crowd as the day wears on.

The media likes to portray Cheltenham as a cauldron of noise and passion. To a point, that’s true. But the crowd needs to be fed with all that makes racing great – shocks, comebacks, returning heroes and supremely dominant performances.

There were two main protagonists before the 2018 Champion Hurdle, Buveur D'Air and Faugheen. When the race was over, however, there was only one, Nicky Henderson's two-time champion. There was a sense of deflation in the crowd, with the exception of those who had 'gone big' on Buveur D'Air. Miracles don’t always happen.

Buveur D'Air favourite for third successive Champion Hurdle

Buveur D'Air is undoubtedly a great horse, one of the best hurdlers we have seen in recent times. But, even should he win a third Champion Hurdle in 2019 (he is 7/2 ante-post favourite with 888sport), he will still not be held in as high affection as Faugheen. It’s a question of romance, not talent. Faugheen is the Alex Higgins to Steve Davis, the John McEnroe to Bjorn Borg.

That’s not to say that Faugheen spent his career an underdog, far from it. Rather it serves as a testament to the memories he gave to the fans. There was a visible will to see him recapture the lightning in a bottle, the magic that saw him become one of the greats in 2015. Indeed, has any horse of the modern era been more associated with the word 'comeback'?

There was a sense of finality after Faugheen’s defeat in the Champion Hurdle. That sense actually came before the last, as five horses, including Buveur D'Air, passed Faugheen like a slingshot. Heads, mostly Irish, were shaking among the crowds; The Machine was now finished.

Tremendous win at Punchestown for Faugheen

Horse racing, of course, doesn’t always follow the script. Around six weeks later at Punchestown, Willie Mullins put Faugheen into the Grade 1 Champion Stayers' Hurdle. Faugheen’s odds of 11/2, third favourite behind Penhill and Bacardys, smacked of 'just in case'. He had been backed down from 10/1, but it seemed the smart money would go elsewhere.

Faugheen didn't read the script. Not only did he win, he trounced Penhill, Stayers' Hurdle winner at Cheltenham, by 13 lengths. Faugheen didn't even seem to break into a sweat with his first win over 3 miles since his novice days. If anything, he looked like he had plenty left to spare as he passed the finish line.

It makes the horses betting odds for the 2019 Stayers Hurdle' required reading as we approach the start of the national hunt season. Faugheen has been made 5/1 favourite by 888sport and others, followed by Penhill (7/1), Apple’s Jade (10/1) and Supasundae (12/1). Punters are still somewhat stunned.

The significance of it cannot be underestimated. If Faugheen goes on to win the Stayers’ next year, then he will have a story to rival that of Sprinter Sacré in 2016. The thing to remember is that punters trust Willie Mullins. If the legendary Irish trainer says that Faugheen is equipped to win the Stayers’, then those odds will tumble. It will be worth keeping an eye on things through the winter, but one last tilt at the top of racing is the least that Faugheen deserves.

Article Posted on Monday 10th September 2018 @ 10.03

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Starting Gate

dundalk Crowne Plaza Hotel Race & Stay Maiden 6f - £7392 - Standard

1 Al Batal4/1

2 Approbare16/1

3 Arcanecho20/1

4 Dark Honey14/1

5 Make A Challenge25/1

6 Modern Love2/1

7 Proud And Elated9/4

8 Sabrina Fairchild6/1

kempton 32Red Handicap1m 7f 218y - £15562 - Standard / Slow

1 Higher Power8/1

2 Lord George7/1

3 Watersmeet3/1

4 Alqamar3/1

5 Baydar9/2

6 Alfredo7/4

7 Darksideoftarnside14/1

8 Billy Ray5/1

wolverhampton Betway Vegas Handicap (Div 2)1m 1f 104y - £3105 - Standard

1 Full Disclosure2/1

2 Swot13/2

3 Puchita8/1

4 Woosh12/1

5 Lady Of Authority5/1

6 Lone Voice9/1

7 Joyful Dream17/2

8 Shamonix12/1

9 Play With Me33/1

10 Dukes Meadow16/1

11 Paco Filly66/1

12 One Liner25/1

13 Pablow12/1

dundalk Crowne Plaza Hotel Race & Stay Handicap (45-65) (Div 1) 6f - £6160 - Standard

1 Cappadocia9/1

2 Evies Wish16/1

3 Blue Whisper40/1

4 Teddy Boy11/2

5 Landline25/1

6 Amazing One5/1

7 Kareless28/1

8 Ar Saoirse12/1

9 Tyrconnell5/2

10 Finvarra8/1

11 Rag Tatter9/1

12 Annesdale Dancer66/1

13 Elegant Lass28/1

14 Zwack40/1

15 Baile An Roba40/1

16 The Bittern Cry22/1

17 Tomwontlisten40/1

kempton Handicap1m 3f 219y - £6469 - Standard / Slow

1 Exceeding Power25/1

2 Tralee Hills7/2

3 Pipes Of Peace11/8

4 Landue6/5

5 Rydan12/1

6 Dalileo13/2

7 Tiar Na Nog10/1

8 Peace Prevails12/1

wolverhampton Handicap1m - £3752 - Standard

1 The Eagle's Nest10/3

2 International Law25/1

3 Steal The Scene14/1

4 Merweb2/1

5 Ebbisham9/1

6 Ruby Gates5/1

7 Ascot Week25/1

8 Mr Red Clubs50/1

9 Cascella14/1

10 Havana Go66/1

11 Magwadiri16/1

12 Foxy Lady8/1

13 Sosian20/1

dundalk Crowne Plaza Hotel Race & Stay Handicap (45-65) (Div 2) 6f - £6160 - Standard

1 Smart Stinger15/2

2 Polly Douglas8/1

3 Hatton Cross14/1

4 Brave Display11/4

5 Downtown Diva18/1

6 Palmetto Bay28/1

7 Bellick12/1

8 Lapilli7/2

9 Ancient Astronaut22/1

10 Bonnie Park33/1

11 Kings Of Luxor80/1

12 Mulzamm11/1

13 Red All Star20/1

14 S P B Lucky33/1

15 Rock In Society14/1

16 Gillabbey Rock66/1

wolverhampton Ladbrokes, Home Of The Odds Boost Maiden Stakes 7f 36y - £3752 - Standard

1 Allen A Dale12/1

2 Assimilation16/1

3 Benji33/1

4 Can Can Charlie25/1

5 Deconso200/1

6 Fortissimo10/3

7 Glorious Emaraty13/8

8 Kentucky Kingdom10/1

9 Showshutai150/1

10 Spiritual Boy33/1

11 With Pride100/1

12 Youthful9/4

Latest Results


WolverhamptonBetway Vegas Handicap (Div 1)

11Earl Of Bunnacurry10/11 f
27Jeremy's Jet5/1
Winning TrainerG P Cromwell
Winning JockeyK T O'Neill
Runners12 ran
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KemptonBritish Stallion Studs EBF Hyde Stakes (Listed)

11Flaming Spear3/1 f
Winning TrainerD K Ivory
Winning JockeyR Winston
Runners11 ran
Distances3/4 length, 1 1/4 length
Tote Win£3.70
Pl£1.20, £3.80, £3.10

DundalkChristmas Party Packages At Dundalk Stadium Nursery Handicap (45-70) (Plus 10)

14Beau Warrior6/4 f
21Imposing Supreme7/1
32She's My Dream3/1
Winning TrainerA McGuinness
Winning JockeyR P Cleary
Runners10 ran
Distances2 3/4 lengths, Neck
Tote Win£2.50
Pl£1.02, £2.60, £1.30

WolverhamptonBetway Heed Your Hunch Handicap

18Pink Phantom6/1
25Sauchiehall Street6/1
36Home Before Dusk16/1
Winning TrainerP F I Cole
Winning JockeyRaul Da Silva
Runners12 ran
Distances3/4 length, 4 lengths
Tote Win£6.30
Pl£2.10, £1.90, £5.30

Kempton100% Profit Boost At Novice Median Auction Stakes

14Honest Albert2/1 f
22Dark Miracle5/1
37Robert L'Echelle11/4
Winning TrainerJ H M Gosden
Winning JockeyR Havlin
Runners13 ran
Distances2 3/4 lengths, Neck
Tote Win£2.50
Pl£1.40, £1.80, £1.10
StatusWeighedIn Handicap (45-65)

113Footsteps At Dawn14/1
22Pari Passu12/1
36Voyageofdiscovery5/2 f
Winning TrainerShane Nolan
Winning JockeyC P Hoban
Runners13 ran
Distances2 3/4 lengths, 1/2 length
Tote Win£15.60
Pl£4.10, £3.80, £1.50

WolverhamptonPlay 4toScore At Betway Handicap (Div 2)

14Roland Rocks11/2
25Midnight Guest11/1
311Spirit Of Zebedee6/4 f
Winning TrainerJ Ryan
Winning JockeyA Kirby
Runners12 ran
Distances1/2 length, 1 3/4 length
Tote Win£5.50
Pl£1.30, £2.90, £1.50

Kempton32Red Casino / Novice Stakes (Div 2)

13Global Spectrum16/1
211Flaunt It25/1
31Deference7/4 f
Winning TrainerMiss Gay Kelleway
Winning JockeyG Mosse
Runners11 ran
Distances2 3/4 lengths, Short Head
Tote Win£18.80
Pl£4.70, £5.20, £1.30