Tuesday 21 November 2017

Defy Logic takes advantage of Champagne blunder to take Leopardstown feature

Defy Logic ridden by Mark Walsh wins The Racing Post Novice Steeplechase during Day One of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival
Defy Logic ridden by Mark Walsh wins The Racing Post Novice Steeplechase during Day One of the Leopardstown Christmas Festival

Defy Logic claimed the notable scalp of Champagne Fever in the feature Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown this afternoon.

Dual Cheltenham Festival winner Champagne Fever was the 8-15 favourite following an impressive chasing debut at Punchestown and he and Defy Logic really went at it down the back straight, with both horses producing some brilliant leaps.

Defy Logic fluffed his lines slightly three fences from the finish, handing the narrow advantage to Champagne Fever, but the market leader then hit the second-last hard to give Defy Logic real impetus.

That mistake appeared to knock the wind out of Champagne Fever's sails as he weakened quickly from the home bend, with Defy Logic pulling further clear in the hands of Mark Walsh.

The 7-2 shot skipped over the last and was pushed out to take the Grade One prize by three and a half lengths, with Trifolium coming through to grab the runner-up spot from Champagne Fever.

Nolan said: "It is great to have no excuses. We decided to bounce out with him and if they went with us they went with us, and if they didn't they didn't.

"The ground was beautiful, but it was a little bit better than we would have wanted it. I was worried that he was going to be one of those horses that was talked up but never delivered, but now he has a Grade One win to his name and I'm delighted.

"He has a great cruising gear, and while I would prefer to try and settle him, there is no point if it's not working.

"Champagne Fever made a bad mistake at a crucial stage, and we just kicked on from there and won the race.

"Any day he was beaten he didn't stop going and I was delighted with how he galloped on. All going well he will come back here for the Arkle.

"This is right up there with my best days - we've had this horse from the very start and we've always loved him and thankfully he's now fulfilled his potential.

"Mark gave him a brilliant ride."

Walsh said: "It is my first Grade One, I've been a long time waiting for it, but I've eventually got it.

"It makes it more special that it is here at Leopardstown on St. Stephen's Day, the big meeting of the year and for the right man (JP McManus). Mr McManus has been very good to me and I'd like to thank him for all the opportunities he's given me. He's been a great supporter of mine."

He added of Defy Logic: "He stays well. It suits him better to go left-handed and we thought he'd come on an awful lot for the last day in Punchestown. Paul had him spot on and he done a great job with him."

Paddy Power eased Champagne Fever to 5-1 from 3-1 for the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham in March and cut Defy Logic to 8-1 from 16-1.

RaceBets offer 9-2 about Champagne Fever and 12-1 about Defy Logic, with spokesman Joseph Burke saying: "Champagne Fever made a mistake at a crucial time in the race but Defy Logic was matching him toe-to-toe at the time and it would have been a very interesting finish had Ruby Walsh's mount cleared the second-last.

"It should be some rematch in March."

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