Willie Mullins keeps Faugheen in fray for Ryanair hurdle at Leopardstown

Faugheen will face a maximum of five rivals if he takes up his entry in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown on December 29.

The 2015 Champion Hurdle hero appeared to have lost none of his dash when he made a spectacular return from over two and a half years on the track in last month's Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown.

He has twice won the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, but trainer Willie Mullins is keen to keep his charge on home soil next week.

Faugheen will be a prohibitively priced favourite to to his tally of eight Grade One wins in the feature event on the final day of Leopardstown's Christmas Festival.

Mullins, who won this race four times with the legendary Hurricane Fly, could also saddle Cilaos Emery, who was fourth on his reappearance in the Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse.

Gordon Elliott has confirmed Campeador, Mick Jazz and The Game Changer, while Ch'tibello is a potential British challenger for Dan Skelton.

The other Grade One prize on offer is the Neville Hotels Novice Chase over three miles.

Mullins has four contenders in Al Boum Photo, Arbre De Vie, Bon Papa and Rathvinden.

Elliott's eight-strong team is made up of Death Duty, Dounikos, Jury Duty, Mossback, The Storyteller, Tombstone, Shattered Love and Dinaria Des Obeaux.

Other possibles include Henry de Bromhead's Monalee and The West's Awake from Edward O'Grady's yard.

PA

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