Last year’s winner of Cheltenham’s Champion Hurdle Faugheen won’t be able to defend his title this year after picking up an injury. His trainer Willie Mullins says that the eight year old horse has a leg injury but has not given any specifics to what has caused the injury. It’s thought that the leg injury will rule Faugheen out of any races until 2017 at the earliest. Many bookmakers had Faugheen as favourite to take the title again in the horse racing betting markets for Cheltenham after beating Arctic Fire and Hurricane Fly to win last year’s race.

The withdrawal will come as a huge blow to some Cheltenham fans that had already put their money on the horse to win the title again this year. But the person most heartbroken about the news is the horse’s jockey Ruby Walsh. After it was announced Faugheen would have to pull out the race, Walsh described the news as “like whipping the ace out of the pack“. The jockey will still have the chance to run in the race though as he has the option of riding a number of the horses entered.

This means that Ruby Walsh is now faced with a tough decision of who to ride in the highlight to the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. Now Faugheen has been withdrawn, there is a lot of uncertainty on the horse racing betting odds for the race. Luckily, Coral will have all the latest news on these upcoming betting highlights in the lead up to the Cheltenham Festival like they do for all the big races including recent runs at Catterick and Wolverhampton. At the moment, Annie Power is now favourite to win the race with odds of just 7/4 with Coral. The horse has the same trainer as his number one choice Faugheen, and Walsh has ridden him over a dozen times in competitions so it’s likely he might be riding the favourite on the day.

The rest of the field for the Cheltenham horse racing betting market are all very close though, with his other options Nichols Canyon at just 5/1 and Arctic Fire at 7/2 with bookmakers Coral. Although he hasn’t had long to consider his decision, he told the Racing Post that at the moment Arctic Fire looked like the stronger horse of the two. He also has the option of riding Sempre Medici but that seems unlikely as the horse has the second longest odds at 33/1.