Faugheen back to winning ways in the Christmas Hurdle

RacingBy Sunday World
Faugheen and Ruby Walsh on the way to victory today
Faugheen and Ruby Walsh on the way to victory today

An injection of pace turning into the home straight helped Faugheen return to winning ways in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton.

Having lost his unbeaten record to stablemate Nichols Canyon in the Morgiana Hurdle on his return to action this season, the Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old had a question to answer for the first time in his career.

Ruby Walsh set out to keep it simple by making all on the reigning champion hurdler, but the field were still closely grouped coming out of the back straight.

Without Walsh seemingly making an effort, however, Faugheen (1-4 favourite) sprinted clear and the race was over in a matter of strides.

Approaching the last Walsh made sure he did not make a mistake and he was eased down close home to beat The New One by seven lengths.

The New One was finishing second again after filling the same spot in 2013.

Walsh said: "We went a good gallop, when I gave him a squeeze turning in he started to extend and when I really got hold of him going to two out he pinged it. He quickened really, really well. It was a really good performance. I'm delighted.

"The turn of foot he showed today at the second-last he didn't show at Punchestown.

"When all is said and done he has beaten those, whether he's capable of beating Nichols Canyon only time will tell."