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Willie Mullins’ Cheltenham hopes reduced

Willie Mullins has suffered a major blow with both Faugheen and Min ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival.

It is another hit for the champion National Hunt trainer who lost 60 horses from owners Gigginstown House this season.

Faugheen won the Stan James Champion Hurdle at the 2015 Festival, but an injury sustained after winning the 2016 Irish Champion Hurdle kept him from a defence of his Cheltenham crown.

The nine-year-old has suffered a couple of minor problems this term, meaning his intended comeback was delayed until the Irish Champion Hurdle last month.

“We had hoped Faugheen had just tweaked a muscle, but we’ve had it checked out and it’s a stress fracture,” Mullins said.

Min missed an intended outing in the Irish Arkle at the end of last month and Mullins confirmed the Grade One winner would also be an absentee at Cheltenham.

The dual purpose trainer has entered three horses for the upcoming Sydney Cup including 2015 Melbourne Cup runner-up Max Dynamite

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