Fever can lead rivals a merry dance

Champagne Fever is fancied to lead his rivals a merry dance in the Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown this evening.

The grey is likely to attempt to make all of the running, certainly he will race up with the pace from the start, and should prove hard to beat.

Willie Mullins gave him a long break from Christmas to Cheltenham, where the selection contested the Arkle Trophy.

Ruby Walsh had him in front at the second and Champagne Fever proceeded to give a fine exhibition of jumping, looking all over a winner for most of the straight.

In the end, though, he was worried out of it close home and beaten a head by David Pipe’s Western Warhorse.

Champagne Fever is still relatively fresh, entitled to come on for Cheltenham and can land the nap.

Quevega, unbeaten in nine races, tries for the perfect ten in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes’ World Series Hurdle.

She is clearly one of the great mares of our time and will be attempting to land this for a fifth successive year.

But she was less than impressive when scrambling to a hard-earned three parts of a length defeat of Glens Melody in the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham and, perhaps, is finally vulnerable.

The nod falls on the durable At Fishers Cross, third behind More Of That and Annie Power at Cheltenham and then beaten into second by Whisper at Aintree.

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