Cheltenham Festival: Faugheen & Min ruled out with injury

Faugheen, ridden by Ruby Walsh, on his way to winning the 2016 Irish Champion Hurdle

The 2015 Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen has been ruled out of this year's Cheltenham Festival.

The nine-year-old will miss the race for the second year in a row, this time with a stress fracture diagnosed after withdrawing from January's Irish Champion Hurdle, which he won in 2016.

Trainer Willie Mullins also said Min will miss the festival with an injury.

"We had hoped Faugheen had just tweaked a muscle, but we've had it checked out and it's a stress fracture," he said.

"Min has a bruise. Hopefully both will still make the track this season."

Faugheen was unable to defend his Cheltenham crown because of an injury picked up after winning the Irish Champion Hurdle.


Cornelius Lysaght, BBC horse racing correspondent

The absence of Faugheen and Min is a huge blow to Mullins and his supporters, especially coming in a season where things have not been going as swimmingly as everyone has got used to.

But the sheer strength in depth that Mullins has under his care means he remains favourite to be top trainer at Cheltenham - and a glance at some of those that remain on course tells you why.

The likes of Melon, Yorkhill, Vroum Vroum Mag, Bellshill, Douvan, Getabird, Un De Sceaux, Let's Dance and Djakadam - and there are more - ensure the most formidable of teams will again be travelling from Mullins HQ to the Cotswolds.