The seven-year-old Faugheen remains unbeaten in nine starts and lines up today (Tuesday 10 March) as favourite for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

He’s one of three contenders in the race for Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins, who also sends out Hurricane Fly and Arctic Fire.

We caught up with his lad John Codd, who has looked after him at Willie Mullins’ yard in Co. Carlow, Ireland, for the past three years and rides him out every day.

John Codd gives us the low-down on Faugheen:

  • “He’s so straightforward — he knows me and I know him.”
  • “I’ve always thought that he was good, he’s had the potential from the start.”
  • “He gives you a great feeling to ride. I used to ride Big Zeb [who won the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham in 2010, trained by Colm Murphy] and he’s a very similar type.”
  • “I am lucky to look after a horse like him— the others do slag me off a bit for having him though!”
  • “He started to pick up work about three weeks before the Festival, but he’s so laid back, he doesn’t do a lot and looks after himself.”
  • “I don’t get nervous, I love watching him. I travel with him all the time.”
  • “Faugheen’s got plenty of good horses to beat but he’s done nothing wrong and nothing’s beaten him yet. He still needs every bit of luck though. But he’s in his prime right now.”
  • “Whoever wins, whether it be Hurricane Fly [also trained by Willie Mullins] or Faugheen, I don’t mind because it’s great for the yard.”

Read all about Willie Mullins’ chances at this year’s Cheltenham Festival in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound, out now.