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Rich Ricci refuses to give up on vanquished Faugheen

Sun 4 Feb 2018

Faugheen's owner Rich Ricci is keeping the faith in the 2015 Champion Hurdle winner.

Willie Mullins' 10-year-old was beaten in the Irish Champion Hurdle by Supasundae and while it was a big improvement on his effort over Christmas, it was still a long way below his brilliant best.

Ricci, though, told At The Races: "I wouldn't write off Faugheen. I think a bit of sun, better weather and he'll be all right. I haven't lost faith. We'll be there on Champion Hurdle day and hopefully he'll be all right."

Meanwhile, the murky Champion Hurdle picture behind Buveur D'Air may see Ch'Tibello head straight there.

Dan Skelton had been thinking of going to Wincanton for the Kingwell Hurdle in a fortnight's time, but with Faugheen's air of invincibility seemingly gone and the Irish Champion Hurdle winner Supersundae not even entered in the Cheltenham version, there is plenty of place money up for grabs.

Ch'Tibello was last seen being narrowly denied by The New One in the Champion Hurdle Trial at Haydock.

"I just need to have a word with his owner, because the Champion Hurdle looks so open now," said Skelton. "We were planning the Kingwell, but we might be better going to Cheltenham with a full tank.

"Faugheen's been beaten, Melon bombed out and Defi Du Seuil was disappointing again.

"Listen, if Buveur D'Air stands up it's a case of life, taxes, death, Buveur D'Air - but after him there's not much else.

"For the last 10 years the Champion Hurdle has been so competitive, but this season that isn't the case and we don't want to leave our race behind in the mud at Wincanton."

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