#startracking Wednesday February 17th 6pm

Just when you thought it was going to be an ordinary Wednesday enlivened by the return of the hooded Annie Power Uncle Willie tells us that FAUGHEEN is out for the season! OMG.

“FAUGHEEN, red-hot favourite to defend his Stan James Champion Hurdle crown at Cheltenham next month, has met with a setback and will miss the festival. Speaking before racing at Punchestown on Wednesday, trainer Willie Mullins told the Racing Post: “Unfortunately, we’ve had a hold-up with Faugheen and he won’t be going to Cheltenham. When we started back working him this week we discovered he had a sore suspensory and, while it isn’t a serious problem, it’s come at a bad time and it means we’ve had to abandon plans to run him in the Champion Hurdle.” Racing Post Tony O’Hehir 1:33PM 17 FEB 2016 

But an hour after her success and after conferring with her owner, Rich Ricci, Mullins indicated that the Champion was now her most likely target. “I would rather run her in the Champion Hurdle than I would the World Hurdle,” the trainer said. “I’ve just had a word with the owner and it looks like she will be supplemented. But we have to see what happens between now and then. The same owner has Vroum Vroum Mag, who could be a real good option for the Mares’ Hurdle. As we see, with horses you don’t know what injuries are coming down the road. Come the week in Cheltenham, we’ll see what we have but she would have a good few options anyway.” Tony Paley, Guardian

For someone who had Faugheen at 7/4 (lumpy single) and Faugheen (5/4), Annie Power (5/4 Mares) in my Tuesday Acca’s plus Annie Power at a sneaky 10/1 for the World Hurdle (!*!*) it has not been a good day!

#startracking Runners

Thursday Fontwell     3.30 CHEF D’OUEVRE             Looks a shoo-in but at 1/3 he is no bet.

Thursday Leicester    3.55 STILLETTO           Galloped into contention last time out, took lead and got the third last wrong and capsized. Quite capable of winning a C3 20F handicap chase off just OR132, the issue is the 11/8 on offer. STD in his Saturday Racing Post column had his fall as “downer” of the week and said “he’ll go one better next time”! Let’s hope so he is a two star** win selection @ 11/8 general.

#startracking Ante Post Update

MORE OF THAT – “I’d have loved to have entered him for the Gold Cup but I suppose we are going down the right novice route and hopefully next year he can go back there (to Cheltenham), all being well,” O’Neill told At The Races. “If he can’t win the novice race, he wouldn’t win the Gold Cup so I have no regrets, really. I’m looking forward to him going and the ground drying up a little bit. He seems in great form at home. I would have loved to have run him at Newbury the other day but he is a better horse on good ground and he doesn’t mind being fresh so he’ll go there with a live chance. He’s in great form. We’re very happy with him. I’m very pleased with the horse. If he turns up there in the same form he did the other day, I don’t see anything beating him.”

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