Faugheen drops in distance

Willie Mullins caught a few people on the hop for the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle by declaring Faugheen rather than Vautour.

Both horses won their respective races at Cheltenham in impressive fashion but will be campaigned over different distances at this week's Festival.

Faugheen won the Neptune at Cheltenham over two miles and five furlongs but drops down to two miles in a move Mullins hopes may see him jump better at Punchestown on Tuesday.

The County Carlow handler also runs Wicklow Brave, sixth in the Supreme at Cheltenham but disappointing at Fairyhouse last time out behind stablemate Valseur Lido, who is also in the line-up.

"Faugheen made two mistakes at Cheltenham and people are saying that because he made two mistakes that he was more impressive. It was a huge performance, however, and he will be exciting in the novice hurdle," Mullins told At The Races.

"He is possibly good enough to come back to two miles because he can go a gallop and maybe he'd be better jumping over two miles.

"He doesn't strike me as a Champion Hurdle horse but they are the things we'll have to decide."

Mick Channon's Sgt Reckless made up plenty of late ground at Cheltenham to take fourth spot in the Supreme and went on to finish second at Aintree to Josses Hill.

Channon said: "He probably just wanted to be there a little bit later than he was at Aintree, but that's the way racing goes sometimes.

"If everything falls right for him, he'd have a very good chance.

"We would like some decent ground for him, we just hope it's not too soft."

Fellow British raider The Liquidator needs to bounce back from two poor runs after having looked promising earlier in the season.

Real Steel, Quickpick Vic and Western Boy, seventh in the Supreme, complete the eight-runner field.