/ Racing

Punchestown preview

Updated: Friday, 15 Nov 2013 15:05 | Comments

Champagne Fever is a best-price 7-1 for the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival
Champagne Fever is a best-price 7-1 for the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival

Champagne Fever starts off on the road to Cheltenham again when he returns in the Connexus Communications Beginners Chase at Punchestown.

Without ever jumping a fence in public, Willie Mullins' grey is favourite for the Arkle, although he has landed the Champion Bumper and the Supreme Novices'' Hurdle at the last two marquee Prestbury Park festivals.

He is conceding experience at this discipline to Rogue Angel, who was third in Grade Three company last time, as well as Corbally Ghost and Our Vinnie, who were separated by just a neck in the race won by Morning Assembly at this venue.

Mullins unleashes another of his Grade One winners when Glens Melody takes in the Punchestown Annual Membership From 95 Euro Hurdle.

The mare had to play second fiddle to exciting stablemate Annie Power at Fairyhouse before going one better at the festival meeting here and should have too many guns for her three opponents.

The champion trainer also holds all the aces in the opening Ballymore GAA Christmas Fair & Family Fun Day 3-Y-O Hurdle (12.00), with impressive Ballinrobe scorer Noble Inn giving 7lb to ex-French stable companion Analifet.

There are sure to be plenty of thrills and spills over the banks course in the Crystal Cup Trial Risk Of Thunder Chase, with cross-country specialist Sizing Australia taken on by the Mullins pair Immediate Response and Sin Palo, and Another Palm, who represents the Noel Meade-Nina Carberry combination.

The Doorman had www.punchestown.com Maiden Hurdle rival Is Love Alive a place behind when second on his debut under Rules and they set a good standard to which Mullins' 150,000gns Flat recruit Sure Reef must aspire.

Kicking King's half-brother Bosman Rule completes an enviable team for the champion trainer in the Racing At Punchestown Tomorrow (Pro/Am) INH Flat Race and shouldn't need to be anything too special to strike at the first time of asking.

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