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Irish Champion Hurdle: Nichols Canyon value to beat Faugheen again

David Metcalf | January 20, 2016

Faugheen is firmly odds-on at 1/3 with Coral to gain his revenge on stable companion Nichols Canyon and land the BHP Insurances Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday, January 24th.

The Willie Mullins trained gelding, an impressive winner of last year’s Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, tasted defeat for the first time when beaten 1/2 a length by Nichols Canyon on his seasonal reappearance in the Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown in November.

More than just a blip in Faugheen’s form?

Connections were left baffled by the performance of the massive 1/6 favourite, but Faugheen has since gone on to land the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton in facile fashion.

Faugheen_Xmas_Hurdle

The eight-year-old looked back to his imperious best when cruising home seven lengths clear of The New One, and is currently 4/7 with Coral to retain his Champion Hurdle crown in March.

However, what Faugheen beat in the Christmas Hurdle is highly questionable and he will need to be winning this in impressive fashion to justify his cramped odds at the head of the ante post market.

Nichols Canyon value to repeat Punchestown triumph

Nichols_Canyon_Faugheen_small

To me, there was no fluke about Nichols Canyon’s win in the Morgiana and he looks a bit of real value at 7/2 with Coral to confirm the form in the Irish Champion Hurdle.

The six-year-old developed into a top-class novice last season when winning five of his seven starts, and four of those successes came in Grade 1 company.

Since beating Faugheen in the Morgiana, Nichols Canyon has gone on to secure a sixth Grade 1 success when beating Idenity Thief in the Ryanair Hurdle over course and distance.

Stablemates have gone out and won since showdown

Nichols_Canyon_Ryanair

Nichols Canyon showed tremendous battling qualities to rally strongly after being headed at the last and beat a progressive rival by two lengths.

It was a most taking performance, and Nichols Canyon is a very tough sort who is on a serious upward curve and currently 6/1 second favourite with Coral for the 2016 Champion Hurdle at the Festival on Tuesday, March 15th.

Should he once again lower the colours of Faugheen, then those odds will shorten dramatically.

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