Champagne Fever: forecast to start odds-on favourite at NaasPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Champagne Fever bids to regain sparkle at Naas
IRELAND'S champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins is optimistic a step up in trip can help promising novice hurdler Champagne Fever get back to winning ways at Naas.
The six-year-old, who won the Grade 1 bumpers at Cheltenham and Punchestown's big meetings last year, found Jezki too good over 2m in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse last month.
So Mullins has aimed Champagne Fever at the Grade 2 Slaney Novice Hurdle over 2m4f.
He is 8-1 for the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle (2m5f) and ranges from 9-1 to 16-1 for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle at this season's Cheltenham Festival.
Mullins, writing in his exclusive column in the Racing Post, said: "We've taken the view for some time that stepping up to 2m4f would suit Champagne Fever well and today's race fits the bill nicely as there was no suitable opportunity for him over the trip immediately after Christmas.
"Over 2m at Fairyhouse he appeared to be going as fast as he could over the last few hurdles and we think the extra half-mile here will play to his strengths."
Champagne Fever is forecast to start odds-on favourite for the Naas Grade 2, while the action in Britain comes from Plumpton and Wolverhampton.
Naas soft to heavy, heavy in places