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Two-time Cheltenham Festival winner Faugheen makes his highly-anticipated racecourse return in the Morgiana Hurdle (2:15) at Punchestown today.
The former Supreme Novice, and Champion Hurdle hero hasn't been seen since his fifteen length romp in the Irish Champion Hurdle last January and is bidding for his eighth Grade One title this afternoon.
This period is the longest he has ever been away from the racecourse, but connections are confident he can overcome a 665 day absence in what doesn't look the strongest of renewals.
“We have been here before with Faugheen but everything seems to have gone to plan,” Rich Ricci said to Racing UK.
“We kept him in longer than the other horses before we threw him out and we threw him out for a short spell so he wouldn’t gain all that weight and be harder to get back in to shape.
“That seems to have been a good idea, he has had plenty of time and I am very excited to see him back.
“It has been almost two years, so it is a big ask and I am very hopeful he retains most of his ability.”
Ruby Walsh, who fell and broke his leg aboard Let's Dance yesterday, won't be able to partner the twelve time winner, instead Paul Townend is given the ride on the Willie Mullins superstar.
Faugheen is currently a 4-6 shot on his return, and a 6-1 chance to retain the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham next March.
Vroum Vroum Mag looked to be the main danger, but was found lame this morning and subsequently pulled-out of the race.
Former Champion Hurdle winner Jezki lines up following his encouraging win at Tipperary last month, whilst Gordon Elliott sends Campeador in search of his first top level prize.
Swamp Fox completes the field.