Willie Mullins to give Faugheen Irish Champion Hurdle entry as CCTV shows doping at Leopardstown unlikely

By Racinguk.com staff Willie Mullins is planning to enter Faugheen[1] in next month's BHP Insurances Irish Champion Hurdle as he continues to ponder the gelding's disappointing run over Christmas.

Faugheen[2] has been given the all-clear by Willie Mullins after his disappointing effort at Christmas (PA)

The 10-year-old was the odds-on favourite for the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown[3] but was pulled up with two to jump after dropping away tamely, leaving connections mystified. Mullins reports the 2015 Champion Hurdle hero to be in good heart at present, with the Grade One contest on February 3 a possible opportunity for swift redemption.

He said: "I didn't see him out this morning, but John (Cobb, work rider) gave me a ring coming down in the car and said he was in great shape. He did a steady canter this morning and is eating, is bright and is well in himself. "That's where we are now and we'll do a little more every day with him.

Nothing has come to light and I'm waiting on one test back with him. I was supposed to have it back last week but it was to go to England or America, but we don't have it back yet. "It was very rare to have him gone so quick and to me, going to the second hurdle, we were wondering were the others not letting him away at the speed.

Paul (Townend) said there was nothing there and he was gone early. "It wasn't that he went three-quarters of the way and then got beaten because he had a dirty nose or lung infection, so it is unusual. "I don't know where I'm going, but he'll get an entry for the Irish Champion Hurdle."

Faugheen[4]'s owner Rich Ricci also has another star, Douvan[5], on the sidelines at present and Mullins has an open mind as to whether the pair will line up at the Cheltenham Festival in March. He added: "It is day by day with himself (Faugheen[6]) and Douvan[7] and while Cheltenham is obviously the target if he keeps going, I'm not making any real plans or targets." The news comes as Turf Club security chief Chris Gordon revealed CCTV coverage confirmed neither Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Sizing John nor Faugheen[8] were interfered with before their engagements.

Following the poor run of Sizing John in the Christmas Chase in which Djakadam was pulled up for the first time in his 24-race career there were theories flying around social, and even some traditional, media that several Irish stars had been doped. "There is CCTV in operation at Leopardstown[9] and we have scrutinised the footage," Gordon told the Racing Post. "It is a great asset to have as we can immediately look into allegations, such as the ones about Faugheen[10] and Sizing John.

"We've reviewed the footage and have no concerns about any unauthorised personnel in the area. We know exactly where Faugheen[11] and Sizing John were stabled and no stranger approached those boxes. "We will be extending our use of CCTV to more tracks in Ireland.

Navan and Tipperary are next to have it installed.

That is a big step in the right direction."

References

  1. ^ Faugheen (www.racinguk.com)
  2. ^ Faugheen (www.racinguk.com)
  3. ^ Leopardstown (www.racinguk.com)
  4. ^ Faugheen (www.racinguk.com)
  5. ^ Douvan (www.racinguk.com)
  6. ^ Faugheen (www.racinguk.com)
  7. ^ Douvan (www.racinguk.com)
  8. ^ Faugheen (www.racinguk.com)
  9. ^ Leopardstown (www.racinguk.com)
  10. ^ Faugheen (www.racinguk.com)
  11. ^ Faugheen (www.racinguk.com)

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