Star jumper Faugheen has failed to satisfy trainer Willie Mullins with his second to Supasundae in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown, his second defeat in his past two starts.
The gelding was pulled up when favourite in a Grade One heat at the track in December and owner Rich Ricci had admitted he had questions to answer on the opening day of the Dublin Racing Festival on Saturday (Sunday (AEDT).
For a long way it looked as if 9-10 favourite Faugheen would rise to the challenge, but he ultimately had no answer when Supasundae (8-1) kicked on after the last, leaving Mullins disappointed and Ricci none the wiser as to where his 10-year-old now ranks.
“I was disappointed with him. He’s sort of half back on track, but he’ll have to improve a lot to be back where he was,” Mullins said.
“I was actually very happy where he was coming round the last bend, but by the time they lined up for the last, the writing was on the wall.
“I was hoping at that stage he might pull something else out, but it wasn’t to be.
“I’m just hoping spring ground, spring air and spring sunshine might rejuvenate him, but there’s just no spark there, I think.”
Faugheen’s eight Grade One wins include the 2015 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham but he is now out to 8-1 for this year’s event.