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Trainer Willie Mullins has confirmed his formidable trio of Faugheen, Nichols Canyon and Arctic Fire on course for the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown.

The unbeaten record of last year’s Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen ended when he suffered a shock defeat by Nichols Canyon in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown in November but he showed his true colours when he defended his Christmas Hurdle crown at Kempton.

Nichols Canyon also struck gold last month with a determined display in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown.

But Arctic Fire, runner-up to legendary former stable companion Hurricane Fly in last season’s Irish Champion Hurdle before chasing home Faugheen at Cheltenham, is on a recovery mission after disappointing on his first start over three miles at Leopardstown over Christmas.

“They all appear good at the moment,” said Mullins, who won the Grade One race for the past five years with Hurricane Fly.

“Hopefully they all stay that way and we’ll see them all on Sunday.”

Mullins also reported Killultagh Vic to be none the worse the morning after his remarkable win at Leopardstown on Sunday.

Everything appeared to be going according to plan until he sprawled on landing after jumping the final fence, somehow regaining his momentum to get back up for a most unlikely victory under an inspired Ruby Walsh.

“I’m happy to report that #KillultaghVic seems absolutely fine after his little speed wobble @LeopardstownRC,” Mullins tweeted.

 
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