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2014 Cheltenham Festival tips - Briar Hill camp eyeing novice hurdle hat-trick

Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh will be looking for a clean sweep of novice hurdle wins at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival with Briar Hill after adding to the victory of Vautour with another sensational strike by Faugheen.

Vautour made all to land the Supreme Novices' Hurdle in sparkling fashion and Faugheen was every bit as impressive when powering home in the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

Now Briar Hill will seek to complete a famous hat-trick by prevailing in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle over three miles, 12 months after his surprise success in the Champion Bumper at Prestbury Park.

The six-year-old was sent off as an unfancied 25/1 outsider on that occasion but will be a well-backed favourite this time following three straightforward wins over timber and some encouraging work on the gallops at home in County Carlow.

"Last year he wasn't showing me much at home, but then really got his act together on the track," said Mullins. "This time he's schooled really well in the build-up and looks to know what it's all about."

Mullins returned to Cheltenham to claim more past Festival glory with past Champion Bumper winners Florida Pearl and Champagne Fever and his son Patrick feels Briar Hill can follow in their footsteps.

After picking the Graham Wylie-owned gelding out as hit nap of the week, Patrick said: "He does everything right and I reckon he's pretty bomb-proof. He has a great temperament and is really laid-back."

Faugheen looked another exciting prospect for the Mullins camp when kicking clear entering the home straight and putting in a fine leap at the last before storming home for a convincing victory.

"We weren't sure which race to go for as we had a good one for the two-mile race and a good one for the three-mile, so he just slotted in here really," said the trainer. "I think he wants fences. He has a disregard for hurdles, he just wants to go."


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2014 Cheltenham Festival tips - Briar Hill camp eyeing novice hurdle hat-trick

Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh will be looking for a clean sweep of novice hurdle wins at the 2014 Cheltenham Festival with Briar Hill after adding to the victory of Vautour with another sensational strike by Faugheen.

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