Willie Mullins’ bid for Cheltenham Festival glory this year appears to have suffered a triple setback with doubts surrounding the participation of Faugheen, Douvan and Shewearsitwell.
The 2015 Champion Hurdle hero Faugheen, who finished a length third to Samcro in the Marsh Novices’ Chase last year on the back of two grade one chasing wins, would have been making a sixth appearance at the Festival.
However, he suffered a setback earlier this season and after an issue at home is highly likely to have to sidestep this year’s showcase meeting.
Meanwhile, Douvan is also contending with another injury and may have to miss the action – although neither have been ruled out by connections as yet.
“They’ve both had setbacks. Faugheen is in the yard, he got clipped during the week. Cheltenham, with his profile, is it going to be tough?” assistant trainer Patrick Mullins told Racing TV.
“If it comes about, great, but I suppose Willie thought at the moment it’s unlikely.
“Douvan is in pre-training – he’s coming back from another setback, so at this stage it would be unlikely.”
There is a further potential disappointment for the Mullins camp in the shape of Shewearsitwell, who is currently 20/1 with Betfred to win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
There had been high hopes for the promising mare, who is unbeaten in three races, but she is another to have suffered a setback, although, again, her appearance at Prestbury Park has not been dismissed completely.
“Shewearsitwell is probably not going to make Cheltenham, which is a pity, as she has as much ability as the others,” Mullins added.
“She had a bit of a setback. She missed the Royal Bond, and it’s going to be tight for Cheltenham, so it’s not definite she’ll make it – we’ll have to see.”