Irish Champion Hurdle: Faugheen wins at Leopardstown
Faugheen warmed up for the defence of his Cheltenham Champion Hurdle title with a comfortable victory in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown.
The eight-year-old is odds-on favourite to retain his title in March and won by 15 lengths under jockey Ruby Walsh.
Stablemate Nichols Canyon, who had beaten him at Punchestown in November, challenged at halfway.
But an error at the second-last ended his hopes as he finished third behind Arctic Fire.
The win for the 3-10 favourite gave trainer Willie Mullins a sixth consecutive win in the race after Hurricane Fly's five successes.
"Faugheen was explosive," said Walsh, who had ridden Hurricane Fly to four of those wins.
"He travelled and jumped really well. We went at it from the word go - he jumped like a buck and you saw what he did when they tried to take him on - he destroyed them.
"I was riding the Champion Hurdle horse and if they are going to beat me they are going to have to come and get me."