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Champagne On Ice

There is some good racing to look forward to this weekend but in a week that saw the entries revealed for Cheltenham's championship races, this week's Betting Book looks ahead to an ante-post bet worth considering.

Sprinter Sacre is set to return to competitive action next weekend in the Clarence House Chase at Ascot, which is certainly a mouth-watering prospect for all racing fans, and in his public gallop over Christmas he appeared to be full of zest and enthusiasm.

Should Nicky Henderson's star reappear in his old guise, he will undoubtedly win another Champion Chase at Cheltenham but for a horse who has had the problems he has had, a lot of water has to go under the bridge before then.

Sprinter Sacre is 2/1 with Boylesports for the Champion Chase, while Sire De Grugy is next best at 4/1 despite not yet appearing this season due to a setback of his own, so with valid concerns over the two market leaders, backing Champagne Fever at 8/1 with the 'non-runner, no bet' guarantee could be the best option.

Champagne Fever may have been a shade disappointing in the King George but with his style of racing, the trip is probably not ideal and with his record at Cheltenham - if connections do revert back to the two-mile championship race - he could prove to be a big player.

Looking ahead to the weekend and few will want to back Champagne Fever's stable companion Douvan at long odds on in the Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown but following his facile debut win at Gowran Park it's impossible to make a case for anything else overturning the likely 1/4 favourite and another similarly impressive display is likely to make the 9/2 on offer at the moment for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle disappear.

At Fairyhouse on Sunday, the Underwriting Exchange Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase is the feature contest and with his horses in such good form at the moment, Tony Martin is the man to keep on the right side of here as his course-and-distance winner Sraid Padraig is the pick following a very positive first run of the season at Fairyhouse back in November.


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