Ruby Walsh concerned about Cheltenham Festival favourite FaugheenPublished February 08, 2018
It goes without saying that Ruby Walsh is one of the finest jockeys in the world, so you better take note when he offers an opinion ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.
Walsh, who has rode 56 Cheltenham Festival winners throughout his incredible career, writes an insightful blog for Paddy Power, in which he recently admitted Faugheen faces a battle to return to his best for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.
The former champ’s lacklustre display at Leopardstown on Saturday, placing second to Supasundae, has seen him drift in the betting market.
“He lacked spark and there was no fire from him, the contrast there is very easy to make,” Walsh wrote.
“When you look at Special Tiara, who is a specialist two-miler, how he spread-eagled the field from the start to the third fence and then you take Faugheen, Supasundae travelled way too easily alongside him.
“Faugheen didn’t have the fire in his belly to burst up the field and put them under pressure, that’s what real two-milers do.
“They don’t allow horses who go a bit further to get into their comfort zone, which Faugheen was usually able to do.
“However, the fire just wasn’t there, he never looked in control of the race.”
This was Faugheen’s second consecutive disappointing run at Leopardstown since his winning return at Punchestown, but nobody is completely ruling out his chances just yet. Willie Mullins will be aiming to work his magic between now and March to get the 10-year-old back his best.