Punchestown bumper set to be Fever pitch

Niall Cronin

WEDNESDAY'S betchronicle.com Champion Bumper received 21 entries following its closure yesterday and amongst them were the first three home from the Cheltenham Champion Bumper last month,

Willie Mullins’ Champagne Fever heads the line-up following his memorable Cheltenham triumph where he had a length-and-a-quarter to spare over the John Ferguson-trained New Year’s Eve.

This race will see Ferguson continue his search for an elusive Grade One. He has already acquired the services of leading amateur Robbie McNamara for the ride on the four-year-old.

Despite giving Cheltenham third Pique Sous an entry in the Champion Bumper, trainer Willie Mullins revealed that he may go elsewhere.

“Champagne Fever has delighted me since Cheltenham and I would imagine I would run two in that race, probably Champagne Fever and Mozoltov,” Mullins told the Herald.

“I might just keep Pique Sous for the winners’ bumper the following day.”

Quality The Champion Bumper field is full of quality with other Cheltenham Bumper participants Jezki (8th) and Clonbanan Lad (12th) both expected to face the starter for the €75,000 contest.

Henry de Bromhead’s said of his highly regarded bumper and point-to-point winner, Buckers Bridge: “He is a really nice horse and he won in Gowran and he might run in the winners’ bumper.”

Shark Hanlon’s Clondaw Warrior will carry the colours of former amateur rider Paul McMahon as he bids for a four-timer, having been absent since completing his hat-trick at Cheltenham back in October, when McMahon picked up a whip ban which triggered his retirement.

Other notable runners in the bumper are the JP McManus-owned God Of The Kop and Noel Meade’s much-hyped Fickle Fortune, while impressive Limerick winner Summer Star may represent Ted and Katie Walsh.

An interesting preview ahead of the Punchestown Festival next week will be shown on TG4 tomorrow evening at 9.30pm and repeated on Sunday at 11am.