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Ruby Walsh hoping to dominate 2015 Cheltenham Festival with young stars

Tony Kelshaw in Latest News 28 Mar 2014

Ruby Walsh insists the 2014 Cheltenham Festival showed the future is bright for his partnership with Willie Mullins, with the jockey particularly excited by the exploits of Vautour and Faugheen.

Next season could see a changing of the guard at Muine Beag in County Carlow, with old favourites Hurricane Fly and Quevega either in the twilight of their careers or even heading towards retirement.

However, the next generation of superstars for Mullins and Walsh may have been on display at Prestbury Park this term, with Vautour making all to land the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in fine style and Faugheen living up to his nickname of 'the machine' in the Neptune.

Walsh's Festival was cut short by a crashing fall in the Triumph Hurdle, but he said: "Of the ones I rode, I was delighted with the two novice hurdlers - Vautour and Faugheen. I thought they put in really good performances and showed themselves to be really exciting horses."

Vautour figures prominently in the betting for next year's Champion Hurdle and the Arkle Challenge Trophy, with Mullins having hinted he's keen to send the five-year-old novice chasing sooner rather than later.

Faugheen's future is also seen over fences but he is also rated a contender for the Champion Hurdle and the World Hurdle in 2015, as well as the RSA Chase should connections go down that route.

The six-year-old had made a few mistakes in his prep races and again clouted the third last at Cheltenham, but that did little to stop his momentum and he powered up the hill in impressive fashion.

"He hadn't been jumping as fluently as you'd have liked, but in fairness to him he'd had three softish races over hurdles and probably lacked a bit of experience, so he'll improve again for the run," added Walsh on Racing UK.

"He won the bumper at Punchestown so hopefully he'll go there for the two-and-a-half-mile novice hurdle and you'd be hoping he'll take an awful lot of beating there again."

With Don Poli prevailing in the Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle off a mark of 153 and the likes of Annie Power, Champagne Fever, Rathvinden, Shaneshill and Black Hercules all running well and still young enough to improve, Mullins and Walsh will be very much the team to fear again next term!


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Ruby Walsh hoping to dominate 2015 Cheltenham Festival with young stars

Ruby Walsh insists the 2014 Cheltenham Festival showed the future is bright for his partnership with Willie Mullins, with the jockey particularly excited by the exploits of Vautour and Faugheen.

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