Faugheen Champion Hurdle quotes an overreaction by bookies

After Faugheen had won in a canter at Punchestown on Tuesday, the bookmakers wasted no time introducing him into the Champion Hurdle market.

Faugheen Champion Hurdle quotes an overreaction by bookies

Prior to Tuesday, he wasn’t on anyone’s list, including his trainer, Willie Mullins, you suspect, for that race.

But so impressive was he, and with Mullins far from ruling out a bid for the Champion Hurdle, the layers had no option but to quote him.

And so they slotted Faugheen in at between 5-1 and 7-1, with only the current champion, Jezki, and My Tent Or Yours and The New One shorter than him.

You’d have to say it was a bit of an overreaction and that is in no way to take from what Faugheen achieved at Punchestown.

He was, to say the least of it, quite brilliant. His jumping improved immeasurably and the power and speed he produced from the turn in to the line was hugely impressive.

But realistically one would need a lot more evidence than this to envisage Faugheen actually winning a Champion Hurdle.

He beat decent horses at Punchestown, but the truth is that not one of his seven victims would have any pretensions whatsoever to being a Champion Hurdle candidate.

And it’s a comment that comes from, arguably, Faugheen’s biggest fan. No, he will have to take on far better horses than these, over two miles, before we get too carried away.

The time Faugheen recorded is interesting, when compared to Nicky Henderson’s Cool Macavity, who won the very next race.

Faugheen ran the two miles in just 0.2 seconds faster than Cool Mcavity. Now Cool Macavity was competing off a mark of 123.

To put that into context, Jezki is currently rated on 169. Is that food for thought or what?

That was some display by Dermot Weld’s newcomer, Forgotten Rules, in winning a maiden bumper on Tuesday.

There were plenty who knew about the Nayef gelding, with persistent rumours of his good work with the Cheltenham champion bumper winner, Sizing Concorde.

A returned price of even money, however, looked ridiculous, given how competitive these Punchestown heats can be.

Of course, he was well taken at bigger prices, but the offers were never a whole lot bigger at the same time.

The bottom line is that if you were a bookmaker, you would have been more than happy to be laying him at tight odds, on the basis you can never legislate for what might turn up in this type of contest.

When Forgotten Rules exploded off the last turn, and then ran clean away from his rivals, the layers had to be reaching for the sick bag.

It was tough on his rider, Robbie McNamara, to subsequently get a five-day suspension for weighing in 1.7lbs heavy.

McNamara must stand some six feet, thee inches and faces an on-going battle with the scales.

He was riding here at 11-7 and his natural weight surely has to be in the region of at least fourteen stone.

As he was heading out to partner Forgotten Rules, he quipped to me: “I can’t wait for my dinner.’ God only knows what he existed on in the lead-in to the race.

Imagine giving a horse the ride of the century, an exaggeration, of course, but you know what I mean, and then getting suspended and fined.

That was the fate suffered by Barry Geraghty at Sandown last Saturday, after he had won the Bet365 Chase aboard Hadrian’s Approach.

Anyone who knows anything about Hadrian’s Approach will be well aware he is far from an easy conveyance.

He doesn’t wear those cheek-pieces for nothing and is just bloody hard work. Geraghty, somehow, managed to cod, cajole and persuade him to finally condescend to put his best foot forward in the closing stages and it was magical.

His reward from the stewards was a nine-day suspension and a fine of £3,150. The world is gone mad, ‘tis the freedom of Sandown they should have given him!

Another terrific drive was that of Ruby Walsh aboard Un de Sceaux at Auteuil, also on Saturday.

He described, in his Examiner column that day, what he was going to have to try and do and referred to it as maths on horseback.

Well, to say he got the fractions right would be an understatement and Walsh emerged from the contest as a Grade A student.

Considering this was his first ride back, since that horror fall at Cheltenham, he was entitled to be at least a trifle ring-rusty.

But not a bit of it and he rode like a man who had never been away. Walsh slowed and quickened the tempo of the contest to suit himself and this truly was an artist at work.

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