Faugheen clinches Novice Chase win over Samcro at Limerick

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Faugheen rolled back the years to add a Grade One triumph over fences to his list of major achievements when winning the Matchbook Betting Exchange Novice Chase at Limerick. The 12-year-old, ridden by Patrick Mullins, pulled clear to finish some eight lengths clear of his nearest challenger and seal an 11th Grade One victory — his first over

Patrick rode the 600th winner of his career when The Big Getaway, trained by his father Willie, took the bumper at Punchestown on Saturday, November 16, 2019.

Faugheen is an Irish Thoroughbred racehorse best known for winning the 2015 Champion Hurdle and back-to-back Christmas Hurdles in 2014 and 2015. His best performance on a racecourse came in the 2016 Irish Champion Hurdle for which he was rated the best two-mile hurdler of the 21st century. His career started over Point-to-point fences as a four-year-old and was sent racing under National Hunt rules in the 2013/2014 season where he emerged as a leading Novice hurdler, winning all of his races including the Dorans Pride Novice Hurdle, Cheltenham Novices Hurdle and Herald Champion Novice Hurdle acquiring the nickname “The Machine” in the process.

Trainer Willie Mullins said he was “absolutely delighted” with a “hell of a performance” by his charge, adding: “He may be 11, rising 12, but he deserves to go for one of the big races at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown.

Nine times victorious at the top level over the smaller obstacles, the 2015 Champion Hurdle hero showed he was still a formidable force – just days short of turning 12 years old – to lower the colors of another star name in Samcro.

Faugheen enjoyed himself out in front in the hands of Patrick Mullins, but his market rival was never too far away. Tintangle tried to keep tabs on the big two, but fell five fences from the finish, leaving the market principals to fight it out.

Faugheen, trained by Willie Mullins, jumped the last two obstacles in great style and pulled clear to win by 10 lengths. Castlebrook Lad was 22 lengths back in third place.

Mullins was at Kempton to see Footpad finish third in King George VI Chase – and nominated the Flogas Novice Chase at Leopardstown in early February as the likely next target for Faugheen. He said: “To go toe-to-toe with Samcro over the last six furlongs was very good. He did what he always does, in that he gallops and jumps.

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