Champagne Fever clears a hurdle at Leopardstown on SaturdayPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Champagne Fever back to his best in Deloitte
Report: Leopardstown, Saturday
Deloitte Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m2f, 5yo+
AFTER a flat performance in his last race, the fizz was definitely back in Champagne Fever as last season's Champion Bumper winner made all in the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle.
Champagne Fever's task was made easier by a combination of an uncontested lead and the second-hurdle exit of main market rival Waheeb, but the 2-1 favourite was still forced to show his old sparkle to see off the attentions of Bright New Dawn.
And after repulsing his rivals Champagne Fever's reverse at 1-4 in the Slaney Novice Hurdle, after which he scoped badly, was virtually forgotten with all roads now leading to the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Winning trainer Willie Mullins said: "He put in a spectacular performance.
"It's always a worry when you have a sick horse whether you can get them back that season and if he had finished in the first three I would have been happy.
"He'll probably go for the Supreme now. It is always the hardest run race and on the softest ground so that's why we'll go for that race with him, it might just suit him better."
BetVictor cut Champagne Fever to 20-1 (from 33) for the Supreme, while also shaving his Neptune Investment Management Novice Hurdle odds to 8-1 (from 10). Runner-up Bright New Dawn shortened to 20-1 (from 33) for the same race.