| -1.2°C Dublin

Champagne Fever leads from the off and holds on for exciting victory

CHAMPAGNE Fever made all to present trainer Willie Mullins with a seventh success in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.

Mullins has farmed the Grade One event since its inception and gave his son Patrick the leg-up aboard this 16-1 shot.

Mullins jnr decided to take them all on, leading from the off as well-supported favourite New Year's Eve was dropped into the pack.

Barry Geraghty looked to be going ominously well on the John Ferguson-trained favourite at the top of the hill and he made his break for the lead some way out.

However, Champagne Fever was not for passing and he bravely stuck his head out to prevail by a length and a quarter from New Year's Eve.

Mullins perceived first string Pique Sous finished third, just a head adrift.

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."

PA Media