Champagne Fever can strike on Day 3 as Willie Mullins drops him back in distance
Willie Mullins has a typically cracking stable of horses for the 2015 Cheltenham Festival, with strong contenders for several races and that includes CHAMPAGNE FEVER in the Ryanair Chase.
The horse won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle two years ago after a mammoth gamble before finishing second in the Arkle twelve months later and we should expect Mullins to tilt him towards the Day 3 race this time around.
Champagne Fever did reasonably well to finish fourth in the King George VI Stakes on Boxing Day, although Ruby Walsh was one of several who thought that the horse failed to get the trip and a drop back in distance is surely on the cards now.
“I was very happy early on and he jumped the first couple really well but in fairness to him all we have ever taught him was to jump out and run,” Walsh told Racing UK.
“Trying to restrain him for the King George to get three miles didn’t happen and he sat in my hands all the way and probably did too much early in the race.
“Whichever way I could have ridden I don’t think he would have beaten Silviniaco Conti.
“I’d imagine we will have to go back in trip. I would say that is a foregone conclusion, but how far back in trip only time will tell.
“We always have options. We’ll change tack and see what happens.”
Paddy Power go as short as 10/1 about Champagne Fever in comparison to the 11/2 on offer with Sky Bet, which illustrates that there are several different potential races in which the horse could feature.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase is an obvious target, although two miles might be a touch short, with Champagne Fever set to go up against Dynaste and Don Cossack in the Ryanair instead.
Dynaste won the Ryanair last year although finishing second in the King George suggests that David Pipe might point the horse at the Gold Cup and that would lead to Champagne Fever shortening massively.
Champagne Fever 10/1 to win Ryanair with Paddy Power