Champagne looks another for Mullins

The dominance of Willie Mullins this season has, on a number of occasions, produced some rather uncompetitive racing and he is set to saddle three odds-on shots at Leopardstown on Stephen’s Day.

Champagne Fever, perhaps, will be the best price of the trio and has to get the vote in the Grade 1 Racing Post Novice Chase.

The six-year-old showed just what a talented horse he is when out-battling My Tent Or Yours to win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March and was always likely to be even better over fences.

The selection made a more than satisfactory start at Punchestown last month, setting a strong pace throughout to beat Corbally Ghost by four lengths.

Mullins’ Analifet will surely be a tight price for the other Grade 1 on the programme, the Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle.

The French import has been hugely impressive in both her successes in Ireland, at Fairyhouse and Punchestown, and all the evidence suggests she is easily the best three-year-old in this country.

Mullins’ Clondaw Court will be an even shorter price in the Bookmakers’ Bar At Bewleys Hotel Leopardstown Maiden Hurdle.

He has been absent since winning at bumper by a street at Punchestown in November of last year and this represents a simple task for a horse that is clearly seriously talented.

The nap vote falls on the once-raced Gordon Elliott-trained Fort Smith in the Bumper. He very much caught the eye on his debut when fifth to Moyle Park over flights at Navan.

The Thorntons’ Recycling Maiden Hurdle may be best left to Dessie Hughes’ Wrath Of Titans, even if he was a little disappointing when only third to Moyle Park in the aforementioned Navan maiden hurdle. The likely softer surface now may see him in a far more favourable light.

At Limerick the progressive Felix Yonger, who is three from three over fences, is hard to oppose in the Grade 2 Greenmount Park Novice Chase.

Another safe wager is Moonshine Lad in the Signsplus Maiden Hurdle. He looked all over a winner at Fairyhouse when falling two out, contest went to the 15lbs-receiving The Housekeeper, and this looks an easier assignment.

Rye Martini, who ran a cracker when third to Foxrock and Touch The Eden at Fairyhouse, can take the Irish Stallion Farms’ EBF Beginners Chase at Down Royal.

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Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

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