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Faugheen, Douvan and Benie Des Dieux all retired by Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci

faugheen

“We have been blessed to have owned some special horses but Faugheen will always have a special place amongst them.”

Three of the most memorable horses of the last few years, Faugheen, Douvan and Benie Des Dieux, have all been retired by Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci.

All three horses have suffered their fair share of injury setbacks in recent seasons, and Ricci confirmed on Friday night that all three will now be retired.

faugheen champion

Ricci on Faugheen.

The highlight of Faugheen’s career came in the 2015 Champion Hurdle, where he romped home to give Mullins and Ruby Walsh a treble on the day.

However, he was met with a setback ahead of the following year’s race and never quite got back to that level of performance.

He enjoyed an incredible renaissance last season over fences, winning a Grade 1 Novice Chase at the Limerick Christmas Festival.

He followed that up with victory in the Flogas Novice Chase Grade 1 at Leopardstown, where he was given a hero’s reception from the Dublin crowd.

“Faugheen meant a lot to Susannah, our son George and me. He was also the favourite horse of my nephew Peter and was the impetus of his falling in love with the sport,” Ricci told Matt Chapman in The Sun.

“Not always the most elegant at a hurdle or a fence, he was a trier and knew he was a dude. My favourite memory was of his Grade 1 Novice Chase win at the 2020 Dublin Racing Festival.

“The noise and the sprinting of the crowd to the parade ring is something I will never forget.

“My indelible memories of Faugheen however will always be of the great horse and his groom John Codd. You never saw one without the other.

“As great a trainer as Willie is and as impressive the record of the jockeys that rode him, surely John deserves a huge amount of credit for his longevity and success.

“We have been blessed to have owned some special horses but Faugheen will always have a special place amongst them.”

Faugheen won over £1.1 million in prize money during his eight years racing, winning 17 times from 26 starts.

Douvan.

Douvan was a two-time winner at the Cheltenham Festival, winning the 2015 Supreme followed by the 2016 Arkle.

He was unbeaten over obstacles heading into the 2017 Champion Chase where he was sent off the 2/9 favourite.

However, something went amiss that day and he ended up finishing 7th, reported as lame to the stewards after.

He only managed to make it back to the racetrack three times since, his last win coming at Clonmel in November 2019.

douvan

Benie Des Dieux.

Benie Des Dieux got up on the line to win the 2018 Mares Hurdle but it was the following two years that she will be most remembered by.

With the 2019 race seemingly at her mercy, the mare fell at the last under Walsh in a repeat of his fall on Annie Power four years earlier.

She came back the following year and fought out an epic battle against future Champion Hurdle winner Honeysuckle, where she was beaten by half a length.

It proved to be her last start under rules.

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