Champagne Fever makes all to win the Deloitte Hurdle in game fashion
Last Updated: 09/02/13 3:42pm
Champagne Fever: Second win over hurdles is a Grade 1 success
Champagne Fever bounced back to winning ways with a gutsy front-running performance in the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown.
Last season's Champion Bumper winner had been beaten on his last two runs over timber but showed plenty of bravery in holding off the challenge of Bright New Dawn on the run to the line.
Paul Townend went out to set a decent pace on the grey, who jumped nicely after a clumsy leap at the first, with his task made much easier when second-favourite Waaheb dived at the second flight and sent jockey Mark Walsh to the turf.
Willie Mullins' charge continued to lead the field a merry dance to the second-last where a challenger emerged in the form of the eventual runner-up, who appeared to be travelling slightly the better under Davy Russell.
But Champagne Fever (2/1 fav) was not for passing and found plenty on the run to the line to score by a length-and-a half with outsider Wingtips plugging on for a distant third place.
Mullins said: "He put in a spectacular performance.
"It's always a worry when you have a sick horse whether you can get them back that season and if he had finished in the first three I would have been happy.
"He'll probably go for the Supreme now. It is always the hardest run race and on the softest ground so that's why we'll go for that race with him, it might just suit him better.
"It wouldn't be a problem going out in trip with him but we'll stick to the
Supreme Novices' Hurdle with him, Mozoltov and Un Atout.
"Pont Alexandre will run in the Neptune and Ballycasey in the Albert Bartlett.
It will be tough over there, but you send your best and hope that one of them will draw."