Champagne back on song for red-hot Mullins
Published 10/02/2013 | 04:00
Willie Mullins once again dominated the training honours at Leopardstown with a 123/1 four-timer on Hennessy day.
Not only did he land the big one with Sir Des Champs but added two other Grade Ones, with Boston Bob and Champagne Fever, as well as scoring with Tennis Cap, giving Paul Townend a treble, and all are Cheltenham bound.
Champagne Fever returned to form when making all the running in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle.
Last season's Cheltenham Champion Bumper winner had run a listless race last time out, but this time the 2/1 favourite brushed aside Bright New Dawn, his only serious challenger, and galloped strongly to the line to score by a length and three-quarters.
"He's back to himself, which is a huge relief after Naas. We just fiddled around a bit with him since then and we waited until this week to give him two bits of work," said Mullins.
"He really impressed in those two bits, especially in his work on Tuesday. It wouldn't be a problem going out in trip with him but we'll stick to the Supreme Novices' Hurdle."
Boston Bob got up in the very last stride to win a thrilling race for the Dr. PJ Moriarty Novice Chase.
The Graham Wylie-owned eight-year-old looked beaten when he dropped back to fourth after tracking the pace-setting Lyreen Legend but rallied in amazing fashion on the run to the line.
Paul Carberry appeared to have brought Texas Jack with a perfectly-timed run and although he got the better of Lord Windermere and Lyreen Legend, he simply had no answer to the late dash of the 6/4 favourite.
Paddy Power left Boston Bob unchanged at 11/2 for the RSA Chase at Cheltenham while Boylesports cut him to 5/1 from 6s for the same race and Stan James went 4/1 from 6/1.
Tennis Cap (6/1) joined the Mullins squad for Prestbury Park with a cosy success in the paddypower.com iphone Fast Bet Handicap Hurdle.
"He has probably booked his ticket for Cheltenham now for the either the County or Coral Hurdle but the County may be more his job," said the County Carlow trainer.
Our Conor (100/30) strengthened his Cheltenham claims when completing a hat-trick over jumps with an impressive display to take the Spring Juvenile Hurdle and is now a 6/1 chance for the JCB Triumph Hurdle.