Sport Horse Racing

Monday 26 February 2018

Watching Brief

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

AT the risk of having my sanity called into question, the 9/2 that can be had about Champagne Fever winning the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham in March is tempting.

Sure, lots will happen between now and then but, right now, there isn't a horse in the ante-post market for the two-mile Grade One that looks capable of shaking up Willie Mullins' classy grey.

A dual Festival winner already, he was sublime on his fencing bow at Punchestown, to the point that he is now favourite for each of the three major novice events next March.

For me, he is a Gold Cup prospect long term, but Mullins will keep him to two miles for now.

If Champagne Fever wins at Leopardstown at Christmas and follows up in the Irish Arkle, the chances are he will be odds-on for Cheltenham.

For balance, it might be a good idea to take some of the 25/1 that can be had about Mullins' Ballycasey for the RSA Chase. He left spectators purring after a school at Punchestown on Sunday, and his odds will tumble if he defies an inadequate trip to score on his fencing bow at Navan tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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