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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 19 October, 2018

Big blow for Mullins as two more stable stars are ruled out of Cheltenham

Min and Faugheen won’t be competing at next month’s festival.

Jockey Ruby Walsh celebrates Faugheen's 2015 Champion Hurdle success with winning trainer Willie Mullins.
Jockey Ruby Walsh celebrates Faugheen's 2015 Champion Hurdle success with winning trainer Willie Mullins.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

WILLIE MULLINS’S CONSIDERABLE team for next month’s Cheltenham Festival will be without two of its biggest stars.

Faugheen, the 2015 Champion Hurdle winner, and Min, a second-place finisher to Altior in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last year, have been ruled out of the festival through injury.

Mullins revealed today that nine-year-old Faugheen, who missed last year’s festival due to injury and has not run since the 2016 Irish Champion Hurdle more than a year ago, has been ruled out of Cheltenham with a stress fracture.

Faugheen had been due to run in this year’s edition of the Irish Champion Hurdle last month but was once again a late injury withdrawal.

The issue was initially thought to be a muscle injury but it has now been discovered the problem is more serious.

“We had hoped Faugheen had just tweaked a muscle, but we’ve had it checked out and it’s a stress fracture,” said Mullins.

A bone bruise will keep Min out of the Arkle Trophy and also ends hopes of a highly-anticipated rematch with Nicky Henderson’s Altior.

“Min has a bruise. Hopefully both will still make the track this season.”

The news of the Rich Ricci-owned pair is another setback for Mullins after he recently had to rule Annie Power, last year’s Champion Hurdle winner, out of her title defence with a leg injury.

This year’s Cheltenham Festival runs from 14-17 March.

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