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Cheltenham

  • 17:15 Weatherbys Champion Bumper 2m 110y

  • (Grade 1 Standard Open NH Flat Race) £55,000 added 4-6yo 20 ran
  • Winner £31,322 2nd £11,754 3rd £5,885 4th £2,932
  • Going: Good, Good to Soft in places
  • Surface: Turf
    Weighed In
  • Winning time: 3m 47.50s
  • Off time: 17:15:42

Champagne flows in bumper

Mullins wins race for the seventh time with second string

Last Updated: 14/03/12 5:56pm

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Willie Mullins: His seventh victory in the bumper

Willie Mullins: His seventh victory in the bumper

Champagne Fever led home an Irish 1-2-3 when he made all the running to land the Weatherbys Champion Bumper.

Willie Mullins' son Patrick led at a healthy pace from early on in Wednesday's closing event but looked like a sitting duck heading down the hill.

The trainer's first string Pique Sous emerged as one of the biggest threats along with New Year's Eve, who was bidding to give Barry Geraghty his fourth winner of the day.

But Mullins Jnr had the last laugh against Messrs Geraghty and Walsh in the closing stages, pulling out more on the 16/1 chance to hold on by a length and a quarter.

New Year's Eve (9/2f) travelled like the best horse for a long way but this time Geraghty had to settle for second, with Pique Sous (12/1) close behind in third.

The win gave trainer Mullins a seventh victory in the flat race and his second this week following Quevega's win on Tuesday.

Mullins senior said: "Both of them ran a cracker and we just said we'd be positive on this fellow.

"I'm delighted, especially with the way a few of mine were running, we were getting despondent.

"This horse gallops and he has a huge cruising speed. That's where we went wrong the first day as we waited with him, so the next day he made all and we decided we'd do the same today.

"He's going to be a big light-framed horse all his life I think, I hope so as they are easier to keep sound than those big, heavier horses.

"I'm delighted for the owners, they have a lot of horses with me and it is very nice to get them a winner here.

"Pique Sous has run a cracker, too. He cruised down the hill and he is one that will go to Punchestown.

"We've all had an up and down 24 hours, and you always hope something comes right."

The winning rider said: "I thought my two rides earlier in the week were my best two chances - one pulled up and one fell.

"I said before this lad reminds me of Quel Esprit. He cruises along, he doesn't really have a turn of foot but has a very long stride and kept that up the whole way.

"He kept on finding once the other horse got to me."

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