Faugheen is set to make his first competitive race appearance of the season in the Bar One Racing Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Sunday although stablemate Annie Power will not feature.
Faugheen has been sidelined since January because of a suspensory ligament injury which meant he was unable to defend his Champion Hurdle crown at the Cheltenham Festival.
The eight-year-old’s last competitive outing was in the BHP Insurances Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown in January, a race he won in comfortable fashion, and he will now make his long-awaited return to action at the weekend.
Faugheen will be part of a strong contingent for trainer Willie Mullins, who could also have Vroum Vroum Mag, Clondaw Warrior, Nichols Canyon, Shaneshill and Whiteout running in the race, but one horse who will not compete is Annie Power.
The chestnut mare, who won the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in Faugheen’s absence, missed the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown last weekend after she “worked bad” and has now also been taken out of the frame for Sunday’s Hatton’s Grace.
Annie Power’s absence should open the door for Faugheen to enjoy a productive race at Fairyhouse, with the bay gelding looking to prove his form and fitness ahead of the 2017 Cheltenham Festival where he could run in the World Hurdle.
Faugheen is priced at 5.50 to win the World Hurdle at Prestbury Park on March 16.