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Category: Champion Hurdle

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Willie Mullins’ vet Tim Brennan denies passing on inside information

• BHA charges relate to suspicious lay bets on Faugheen • Hurdler was withdrawn before 2016 Cheltenham FestivalWillie Mullins’s vet, Tim Brennan, has been accused by racing’s ruling body of telling his brother Michael about an injury to Faugheen befor…

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Buveur D’Air wins Champion Hurdle after thrilling battle with Melon

• Winner follows up last year’s victory for Nicky Henderson• Former winner Faugheen well beaten after taking early leadBuveur D’Air won his second Champion Hurdle as the first day of the Cheltenham Festival turned into a fine one for favourite-backers….

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Cheltenham Festival tipping guide: Buveur D’Air has look of a champion

• Mud-loving runner will be ideally suited by heavy ground• Outsider Ch’Tibello worth a place bet in Champion HurdleIf there were any doubt about the state of the ground for the Cheltenham Festival, it was erased by the GoingStick reading of 5.3 taken …

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Champion Hurdle favourite Faugheen pulled-up at Leopardstown

• Mick Jazz beats Cilaos Emery in shock Ryanair Hurdle result• Career of brilliant hurdler in doubt after jockey pulls horse upMick Jazz was a shock winner of the Ryanair Hurdle as favourite Faugheen suffered just the second defeat of his career after …

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Cheltenham Festival: Buveur D’Air wins the Champion Hurdle

• Trainer Nicky Henderson has one-two in big race on opening day
• Noel Fehily rides the winner to a convincing success

Buveur D’Air was an emphatic winner of the Champion Hurdle on day one of the 2017 Cheltenham Festival, making Nicky Henderson the most successful trainer in the race’s history with six wins. The 5-1 shot led home a one-two for his owner, JP McManus, whose My Tent Or Yours ran on into second place at 16-1 with Petit Mouchoir third.

McManus was achieving his 50th success as an owner at the Festival. No other current owner has managed more than 15.

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Willie Mullins says ‘not worth it’ to enter Limini in the Champion Hurdle

• Ireland’s champion trainer makes surprise Cheltenham Festival call
• Handler says she will probably run in the Mares’ Hurdle next Tuesday

Willie Mullins has decided against adding Limini to the field for next week’s Champion Hurdle, on the grounds that it isn’t “worth it” to pay the £20,000 necessary to enter her at such a late stage. Mullins indicated that the horse would probably take part in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle on Tuesday, the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.

“We just decided not to do it,” Mullins said shortly after Limini’s name failed to appear on the list of horses entered for the Champion Hurdle. “I really don’t want to say much more about it now. I imagine she’ll run in the mares’ race.”

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Willie Mullins says ‘not worth it’ to enter Limini in the Champion Hurdle

• Ireland’s champion trainer makes surprise Cheltenham Festival call
• Handler says she will probably run in the Mares’ Hurdle next Tuesday

Willie Mullins has decided against adding Limini to the field for next week’s Champion Hurdle, on the grounds that it isn’t “worth it” to pay the £20,000 necessary to enter her at such a late stage. Mullins indicated that the horse would probably take part in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle on Tuesday, the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.

“We just decided not to do it,” Mullins said shortly after Limini’s name failed to appear on the list of horses entered for the Champion Hurdle. “I really don’t want to say much more about it now. I imagine she’ll run in the mares’ race.”

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Noel Fehily set to replace Geraghty on Buveur D’Air in Champion Hurdle

• Many JP McManus-owned horses need a new jockey for the Festival
• Henderson predicst that Mark Walsh likely to get a number of rides

Noel Fehily is expected to replace Barry Geraghty in the saddle aboard Buveur D’Air in the Champion Hurdle. The six-year-old, who has been at the top of the betting on the race since a smooth success at Sandown last month, is one of many JP McManus-owned horses that need a new jockey for the Festival in a fortnight’s time, following the chest injuries sustained by Geraghty on Saturday.

Nicky Henderson, trainer of Buveur D’Air, indicated at a media event here on Wednesday that Fehily was likely to be back aboard the horse. “I suspect so,” Henderson responded when asked about the subject. Fehily was retained by Buveur D’Air’s previous owner and has ridden the horse in six of his 11 races, winning a Grade One at Aintree last spring on him.

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Noel Fehily set to replace Geraghty on Buveur D’Air in Champion Hurdle

• Many JP McManus-owned horses need a new jockey for the Festival
• Henderson predicst that Mark Walsh likely to get a number of rides

Noel Fehily is expected to replace Barry Geraghty in the saddle aboard Buveur D’Air in the Champion Hurdle. The six-year-old, who has been at the top of the betting on the race since a smooth success at Sandown last month, is one of many JP McManus-owned horses that need a new jockey for the Festival in a fortnight’s time, following the chest injuries sustained by Geraghty on Saturday.

Nicky Henderson, trainer of Buveur D’Air, indicated at a media event here on Wednesday that Fehily was likely to be back aboard the horse. “I suspect so,” Henderson responded when asked about the subject. Fehily was retained by Buveur D’Air’s previous owner and has ridden the horse in six of his 11 races, winning a Grade One at Aintree last spring on him.

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Willie Mullins tempted to run Limini in Cheltenham Festival’s Champion Hurdle

• Mullins says: ‘It’s 50-50,’ but adds that mare is no Annie Power
• Trainer points to Melon’s chance in Supreme and Carter McKay in Bumper

Limini, who was a 50-1 chance for next month’s Champion Hurdle less than a week ago, seems increasingly likely to take her chance in the race after Willie Mullins, her trainer, said here on Monday that “we might take a punt with her” in the feature event on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.

Mullins took the same race last season with a late substitute, when the mare Annie Power stepped in to replace Faugheen, the champion over timber in 2015, and she won by four-and-a-half lengths. With both Annie Power and Faugheen now sidelined, and Yorkhill, last year’s Neptune Novice Hurdle winner, running over fences, Limini suddenly appears to be Mullins’s best chance of winning the Champion Hurdle for the fifth time in the past seven years.

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Alan King enjoys fine season as Yanworth warms up for Champion Hurdle

The Wiltshire trainer has already had more winners than in any of the past seven seasons, with the two major jumps festivals still to come

‘You’re battling all the time,” says a vigilant Alan King, waiting at the top of the Sharpridge gallop for his horses to appear at the bottom. “There’s always something going on, something that’s not quite right.”

But there is no trouble to be seen from this Wiltshire peak, surrounded by gorgeous downland, much of it available to the trainer, who is having his best season since the days of Katchit and Voy Por Ustedes. His new landlord turns out to be wholly supportive, measures put in place to prevent viral infection are working and he has a live Champion Hurdle contender in Yanworth, who will warm up in Wincanton’s Kingwell Hurdle on Saturday.

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Willie Mullins’ Faugheen and Min will both miss 2017 Cheltenham Festival

• Faugheen, 2015 Champion Hurdle winner, was hot favourite for 2017 race
• ‘We’ve had it checked out and it’s a stress fracture,’ despondent Mullins said

Faugheen, the 2015 Champion Hurdle winner, and Min, a leading contender for the Arkle Trophy, will both miss the Cheltenham Festival next month after Willie Mullins, their trainer, was forced to concede on Monday that neither horse will recover from an injury in time to line up at jumping’s showpiece meeting.

Mullins has dominated the Festival meeting in recent seasons, finishing the week as the leading trainer for the last four years, and five times in the last six. Ireland’s champion trainer has suffered a series of setbacks in the current campaign, however, including the loss of about 60 horses following a dispute with leading owner Michael O’Leary over training fees. Vautour, last year’s Ryanair Chase winner, suffered a fatal injury in November while Annie Power, last year’s Champion Hurdle winner, was ruled out of a defence of her title last month.

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Faugheen and Annie Power on way back after pleasing Willie Mullins

• Rich Ricci’s Champion Hurdle heroes showing old form again on the gallops
• Mullins: ‘They both worked very nicely this morning so I’m very pleased’

The fog that has blanketed the top of the Champion Hurdle market for months could start to lift on Sunday week, after Willie Mullins said on Thursday that Faugheen and Annie Power, the first and second favourites for the race, are both progressing well towards making their respective seasonal debuts at Leopardstown on 29 January and Punchestown on 22 February.

Related: Horse racing and betting industries representatives pledge to work together

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Petit Mouchoir on course for Champion Hurdle after Leopardstown victory

• Owner O’Leary beats Mullins with horse he took away from trainer
• Winner made most of the running to beat favourite Nichols Canyon

The sharp upturn in Michael O’Leary’s fortunes at Ireland’s biggest Christmas meeting continued here on Thursday, when Ryanair’s chief executive avoided the awkwardness of presenting the prize in the feature event – the Ryanair Hurdle, no less – to Willie Mullins, the trainer he ditched in a dispute over training fees three months ago. Better yet, O’Leary did so by winning the race himself, with one of the horses he removed from the most successful stable in Ireland.

Petit Mouchoir made most of the running to beat Nichols Canyon, the Mullins-trained 4-9 favourite, by a comfortable seven lengths. He ran at all three major spring Festivals for his former handler last spring, and finished second in Grade One contests at both Aintree and Punchestown, but Thursday’s success was his first at the highest level. The manner of it suggested that it will not be his last.

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Betting moves before Faugheen’s Cheltenham withdrawal under investigation

• British Horseracing Authority spoke to Faugheen’s trainer Willie Mullins
• Mullins not suspected of any part in suspicious Champion Hurdle betting

An investigation is under way into suspicious betting patterns around the withdrawal of Faugheen from the Champion Hurdle. The horse’s all-conquering trainer, Willie Mullins, who is not suspected of any wrongdoing, spoke to officials from the British Horseracing Authority some months ago and was reported on Sunday to be interested in the case’s progress.

“I wasn’t given specific details by the BHA,” Mullins was quoted as saying by the Irish Times, “but they were looking for certain dates and times and I did that. I haven’t heard anything else. I’m as anxious to know what happened, if anything happened, as quickly as possible.”

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Annie Power wins the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival

• Ruby Walsh steers mare to scintillating success
• Mullins runner beats Henderson’s My Tent Or Yours

One year after crashing out at the final flight here, Annie Power has won the Champion Hurdle to give Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh another excellent start to a Cheltenham Festival. The chestnut mare led throughout and was greeted with a huge roar of approval from the packed stands as, this time, she cleared the last to put victory beyond doubt.

A plainly ecstatic Walsh stood up in the saddle as they crossed the line and gave a double fist-pump that drew loud approval from punters who had sent his mount off as the 5-2 favourite. “She deserved it,” Walsh said seconds later on Channel 4. “She’s a great mare.”

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Sempre Medici for shock win in Cheltenham Festival Champion Hurdle

• Trainer Willie Mullins can win with smart outsider
• Irish handler to start meeting with a winner via Min

Such is the strength in depth at Willie Mullins’ yard, he can sometimes win major races with horses that had seemed to be his second or third string. It is an ability he shares with his fellow Irish champion trainer, Flat racing’s Aidan O’Brien, and it is just possible that we might get a demonstration of it in Tuesday’s Champion Hurdle, for which his Sempre Medici (3.30) is oddly overlooked at 25-1.

He stuck his name in the hat for this when running Old Guard to a length around here in December. It seemed he was running on empty close home but it was his first outing for months and that race was on soft going on Cheltenham’s more testing New Course, rather than the Old which will be in use on Tuesday.

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Bookmakers in fear of Willie Mullins’s 25-1 Cheltenham Festival four-timer

• Annie Power’s fall in 2015 saved bookmaking industry a £50m payout
• Laying trainer’s four-timer ‘like trying to stop a moving train’

Britain’s bookmakers fear that they will be “trying to stop a moving train” on the first afternoon of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday, when victory for four favourites from the Willie Mullins stable could trigger a payout to match or exceed their £40m loss in September 1996, when Frankie Dettori rode all seven winners on the card at Ascot.

The bookies peered over the same precipice last year, when Mullins saddled three winners on the opening card only for Annie Power, the 1-2 favourite, to fall at the final flight when apparently certain to win.

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Cheltenham Festival Champion Hurdle: horse-by-horse guide to runners

Annie Power heads the betting for the big race on the opening day of the jumps season’s premier meeting

The winner of 10 of her 12 hurdle races and it would have been 11 wins had she not fallen at the last flight a year ago when possibly distracted by a shadow. Only other defeat was when probably failing to stay three miles at the 2014 Festival after racing freely, when she was still good enough for second place. A mighty talent, even if she has never been tested in a two-mile race of this quality before. Minor injury kept her sidelined until last month but she looked in good shape for her easy prep-race success.

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Cheltenham Festival 2016: Willie Mullins’ guide to his team of runners

Mullins is to send 60 horses to the jumping championships which start in a fortnight. Here he talks about his top contenders

He had a nice gallop yesterday at Leopardstown and he’s in the Ryanair and the Gold Cup. There was an interesting article in the Racing Post this morning suggesting his pedigree might not have enough stamina in it, we’ll have to see, but I think he has enough stamina anyhow and at the moment he’s going for the Gold Cup.

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