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Rise of the Machine: Fabulous Faugheen takes Mullins one step closer to trainer's crown

Willie Mullins now leads Gordon Elliott by over €400,000 with two days of the national hunt season remaining.

Faugheen: had 13 lengths to spare over a class field.
Faugheen: had 13 lengths to spare over a class field.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

FAUGHEEN PROVED THAT reports of his demise have been greatly exaggerated as he romped to the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown, taking Willie Mullins a step closer to his latest trainer’s title in the process.

His blistering 13-length win over Penhill, coupled with an equally dominant display from Footpad in the Ryanair Novice Chase, opened up a gap of over €400,000 between Mullins and rival Gordon Elliott ahead of the final two days of the season.

For so long the untouchable star of Mullins’ squad, Faugheen never quite showed his form of old this season following his return from an injury lay-off of nearly two years.

But stepped back up to three miles for the first time since his novice days, he was in a league of his own, making all the running before cruising to the finishing post in the hands of David Mullins without so much as a hint of a contest.

Penhill, winner of the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham last month, was a distant second with Shaneshill in third.

A little more than an hour later, stablemate Footpad rubberstamped his credentials as the outstanding novice chaser of the season with an exhibition in the Grade 1 Ryanair.

With Daryl Jacob on board again, the Arkle winner had 12 lengths to spare over game outsider Optimus Prime with Asthuria back in third.

Punchestown – Thursday’s Results

  • 15.40: 1. Park Paddocks (6/1 fav) 2. Neverushacon (10/1) 3. Call A Cab (13/2 2fav) 4. Flaviana (33/1)
  • 16.15: 1. Cadmium (12/1) 2. Couer Joyeux (25/1) 3. Bon Papa (7/2 fav) 4. Mr Fiftyone (25/1)
  • 16.50: 1. Auvergnat (11/4 2fav) 2. Josies Orders (5/2 fav) 3. Ballyboker Bridger (12/1)
  • 17.30: 1. Faugheen (11/2) 2. Penhill (2/1 fav) 3. Shaneshill (33/1)
  • 18.05: 1. A Great View (7/1 j2fav) 2. Ainsi Va La Vie (7/1 j2fav) 3. De Name Escapes Me (33/1) 4. Orio D’Aubrelle (40/1)
  • 18.40: 1. Footpad (2/5 fav) 2. Optimus Prime (25/1) 3. Asthuria (20/1)
  • 19.15: 1. Dawn Shadow (12/1) 2. Creation (25/1) 3. Awayinthewest (9/1)
  • 19.40: 1. Dunvegan (4/1) 2. Voix des Tiep (9/1) 3. Getareason (7/4 fav)

— Updated 23.50: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the size of Mullins’ lead in the trainer’s championship; it stands at €424,148.

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