Weatherbys Champion Bumper - Wed Mar 14th 2012 

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Champagne Fever Party in Champion Bumper

1 Champagne Fever 16/1
2 New Year's Eve 9/2 Fav
3 Pique Sous 12/1
20 ran Distances: 1¼l, hd, 4l
TIME 3m 47.50s (slow by 4.50s)

Willie Mullins landed the Weatherbys Champion Bumper for the seventh time when Champagne Fever took this year’s contest under the trainer’s son Patrick.

Champagne Fever
© Caroline Norris

Champagne Fever

“I’m delighted because we’d got a little despondent about how some of the horses had been running,” said the winning trainer. “The horse just gallops and has a huge cruising speed. That’s where we went wrong with him first time out at Leopardstown, we should have made more use of him. We always thought he was good but just messed up that day. At Fairyhouse we made all the running and I said to Patrick today to just be up there so he took it on himself to make the running.The horse seemed to go even better when he hit the rising ground.

“I’m delighted for connections because Susannah Ricci has a lot of horses with me and a winner here is always fantastic but it’s even more special when it’s ridden by your son.

“He’s a big light-framed horse and I hope he will remain like that all of his life because that type of horse is easier to keep sound.”

Mullins also saddled third-placed Pique Sous and added: “He ran an absolute cracker and I was delighted with him. He came down the hill well and he and the winner could go to Punchestown.”

Four years after recording his first victory in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper on Cousin Vinny, Patrick Mullins notched another success in the race aboard 16/1 shot Champagne Fever, who is trained by his father Willie.

Patrick said: “I’ve always compared him to Quel Esprit, in that he has great cruising speed but not much of a finishing kick. He has a fine old stride so I wanted to use that and he showed that he was able to keep it up the whole way.

“I wondered going round the home bend how much he had left but when the others came to me he just kept finding. He’s tough but a few people have questioned his head carriage. He carries his head up high but that’s just his posture.

“He’s a very exciting horse. Any day you can get a winner on the board at Cheltenham is great and for dad to get two is fantastic.”

There was some bad news for the young jockey, however, after he was banned for two days, for exceeding the number of times he was allowed to use his whip by one. Declan Lavery, rider of fourth- placed Moscow Mannon, received a seven-day ban, also for excessive use of the whip.


Starting Price
Beaten Distance
Champagne Fever
W P Mullins
Mr P W Mullins
11st 5lbs
16 - 1
New Year's Eve
J P Ferguson
B J Geraghty
10st 11lbs
9 - 2
1 1/4 length
Pique Sous
W P Mullins
R Walsh
11st 5lbs
12 - 1
Moscow Mannon
B R Hamilton
Mr D Lavery
11st 5lbs
8 - 1
4 lengths
Yes Way Hosay
R T J Wilson
Bryan J Cooper
11st 5lbs
50 - 1
1/2 length
The New One
N A Twiston-Davies
S Twiston-Davies
10st 11lbs
12 - 1
The Romford Pele
Miss R Curtis
A P McCoy
11st 5lbs
33 - 1
5 lengths
Mrs J Harrington
R M Power
10st 11lbs
12 - 1
3/4 length
Many Clouds
O Sherwood
L Aspell
11st 5lbs
40 - 1
3 lengths
Royal Guardsman
C L Tizzard
J Tizzard
11st 5lbs
6 - 1
1 1/2 length
Sir Johnson
P Bowen
J E Moore
11st 5lbs
7 - 1
2 lengths
Clonbanan Lad
Michael O'Connor
Mr M J O'Connor
11st 5lbs
14 - 1
3 3/4 lengths
Village Vic
P J Hobbs
T J O'Brien
11st 5lbs
14 - 1
3/4 length
Circular Quay
W Greatrex
P J Brennan
11st 5lbs
40 - 1
2 1/4 lengths
Horatio Hornblower
Nick Williams
J Reveley
10st 11lbs
12 - 1
1 3/4 length
Piano Concerto
Andrew Turnell
Nick Scholfield
11st 5lbs
125 - 1
6 lengths
Virginia Ash
C L Tizzard
Aidan Coleman
10st 11lbs
50 - 1
D O'Meara
D F O'Regan
11st 5lbs
50 - 1
Glenwood Present
R H Buckler
Nathan Sweeney
11st 5lbs
150 - 1
Cool George
Miss J Du Plessis
James Best
10st 11lbs
25 - 1



John Ferguson’s memorable first season as a permit-holder gained further gloss when New Year’s Eve finished second in the Weatherbys-sponsored Champion Bumper.

Suffolk-based Ferguson employed Barry Geraghty for the ride on the four-year-old who split the Willie Mullins- trained pair Champagne Fever and Pique Sous, going down by one and a quarter lengths after the three pulled clear and had a sustained battle.

Ferguson said: “I’m delighted with the way he’s run and he’s going to be a smashing horse for next year.

“He’s won two bumpers and to finish second in Cheltenham’s championship race is a great start to a horse’s career. He’s got the size and scope to go on and he’ll jump a hurdle in the autumn.

“I asked Barry to ride this one because Jack [Quinlan, who rides most of the yard’s horses] is still a 5lb claimer and it’s not fair to ask someone of that experience to come to the Festival for three rides, so I used Barry on this one and Denis [O’Regan] on Cotton Mill.”



2011-WINNER-CHELTENIAN 5-11-05 Owner-Roger Brookhouse; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-14/1
2ND Destroyer Deployed 5-11-05 Owner-The Craftsmen; Trainer-Tim Vaughan; Jockey-Aidan Coleman; SP-66/1
3RD Aupcharlie 5-11-05 Owner-Gerard Boyle; Trainer-Pat Collins IRE; Jockey- Mr Jason McKeown; SP-33/1
24 ran, Time-3m 51.85s Dist-5, 4½ 5/1 Fav Ericht (6th)

2010-WINNER-CUE CARD 4-10-12 Owner-Jean Bishop; Trainer-Colin Tizzard; Jockey-Joe Tizzard; SP-40/1
2ND Al Ferof 5-11-05 Owner-John Hales; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-8/1
3RD Frawley 5-11-05 Owner-Dr K A Roche-Nagle; Trainer-John Kiely IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-14/1 24 ran, Time-3m 48.70s Dist-8, 8 3/1 Fav Shot From The Hip (20th)

2009-WINNER-DUNGUIB 6-11-05 Owner-Daniel Harnett; Trainer-Philip Fenton IRE; Jockey-Mr Brian O’Connell; SP-9/2
2ND Some Present 6-11-05 Owner-Frances Duffin; Trainer-Tom Mullins IRE; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP-25/1
3RD Rite Of Passage 5-11-05 Owner-Dr Ronan Lambe; Trainer-Dermot Weld IRE; Jockey-Pat Smullen; SP-5/2 Fav 24 ran, Time-3m 56.90s Dist-10, ¾

2008-WINNER-COUSIN VINNY 5-11-05 Owner-Festival Syndicate; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr Patrick Mullins; SP-12/1
2ND Corskeagh Royale 5-11-05 Owner-Queen Maeve Racing Club; Trainer-Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Miss Nina Carberry; SP-7/1
3RD Zaarito 6-11-05 Owner-Victoria Syndicate; Trainer-Colm Murphy IRE; Jockey-Davy Russell; SP-3/1 Fav
23 ran, Time-4m 1.30s Dist-3¼, ¾

2007-WINNER-CORK ALL STAR 5-11-05 Owner-Cathal Ryan; Trainer-Jessica Harrington IRE; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-11/2
2ND Sophocles 4-10-11 Owner-Mrs A Donnelly; Trainer-James Leavy IRE; Jockey-Miss Pauline Ryan; SP-40/1
3RD Aranleigh 5-11-05 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Tony Mullins IRE; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-8/1
24 ran, Time-3m 47.90s Dist-1¼, 1½ 4/1 Fav Mad Fish (8th)

2006-WINNER-HAIRY MOLLY 6-11-05 Owner-F T B Syndicate; Trainer-Joe Crowley IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-33/1
2ND Pressgang 4-10-11 Owner-Mrs Anthony West; Trainer-Paul Webber; Jockey-Tom Doyle; 20/1
3RD Kicks For Free 5-11-05 Owner-Mark Tincknell; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-5/1
23 ran, Time-3m 46.70s Dist-hd, 1.75 5/2 Fav Equus Maximus (12th)

2005-WINNER-MISSED THAT 6-11-05 Owner-Violet O’Leary; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-7/2 Fav
2ND De Soto 4-10-12 Owner-Peter Deal; Trainer-Paul Webber; Jockey-Tom Doyle; SP-20/1
3RD Rasharrow 6-11-05 Owner-Ashleybank Investments Limited; Trainer-Len Lungo; Jockey-Tony Dobbin; SP-9/1
24 ran, Time-3m 52.70s Dist-nk, .5

2004-WINNER-TOTAL ENJOYMENT 5-10-12 Owner-It Will Never Last Syndicate; Trainer-Tommy Cooper IRE; Jockey-Jim Culloty; SP-7/1
2ND Refinement 5-10-12 Owner-Michael Tabor; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-Barry Geraghty; SP-7/1
3RD Master Albert 6-10-12 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-David Wachman IRE; Jockey-Mr J P Magnier; SP-50/1
24 ran, Time-3m 48.30s Dist-2.5, 5 7/2 Fav Martinstown (14th)

2003-WINNER-LIBERMAN 5-11-06 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-2/1 Fav
2ND Trabolgan 5-11-06 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Seamus Durack; SP-50/1
3RD Widemouth Bay 5-11-06 Owner-Jackie Deithrick; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-33/1
25 ran, Time-3m 52.30s Dist-.5, 1

2002-WINNER-PIZARRO 5-11-06 Owner-Edward Wallace; Trainer-Edward O’Grady IRE; Jockey-Jamie Spencer; SP-14/1
2ND-Rhinestone Cowboy 6-11-06 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-Jonjo O’Neill; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-5/2 Fav
3RD-Back In Front 5-11-06 Owner-Nelius Hayes; Trainer-Edward O’Grady IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-12/1
23 ran, Time-4m 0.70s; Dist-nk, 3.5

2001-Race Cancelled

2000-WINNER-JOE CULLEN 5-11-06 Owner-Jackie Mullins; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-14/1
2ND-Inca 5-11-06 Owner-Trevor Hemmings; Trainer-Nicky Henderson; Jockey-Mick Fitzgerald; SP-2/1 Fav
3RD-Be My Royal 5-11-06 Owner-Mrs Violet O’Leary; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr James Nash; SP-16/1
17 ran, Time-3m 41.20s, Dist-3.5, 2

1999-MONSIGNOR 5-11-06 Owner-Malcolm Denmark; Trainer-Mark Pitman; Jockey-Brendan Powell; SP-50/1
2ND-Golden Alpha 5-11-06 Owner-David Johnson; Trainer-Martin Pipe; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-7/2
3RD-Canasta 5-10-13 Owner-Southern Brick & Tile Co./D S Arnold; Trainer-Mark Pitman; Jockey-Liam Corcoran; SP-25/1
25 ran, Time-3m 54.8s, Dist-1.5, .75 11/4 Fav Biliverdin (15th)

1998-WINNER-ALEXANDER BANQUET 5-11-06 Owner-M Swarbrick; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr Ruby Walsh; SP-9/1
2ND-Joe Mac 4-10-12; Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Christy Roche IRE; Jockey-Conor O’Dwyer; SP-6/4 Fav
3RD-Frantic Tan 6-11-06; Owner-The Bunkers Hill Mob; Trainer-Nigel Twiston-Davies; Jockey-Carl Llewellyn; SP-8/1
25 ran, Time-3m 45.7s, Dist-2.5, 7

1997-WINNER-FLORIDA PEARL 5-11-06 Owner-Violet O’Leary; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-6/1
2ND-Arctic Camper 5-11-06 Owner-Lady Harris; Trainer-David Nicholson; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-16/1
3RD-All The Colours 4-10-12 Owner-Pat Byrnes; Trainer-John Mulhern IRE; Jockey-Jamie Osborne; SP-8/1
25 ran, Time-3m 45.1s, Dist-5, 2 4/1 Fav Dawn Leader (13th)

1996-WINNER-WITHER OR WHICH 5-11-06 Owner-Robert Sinclair; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr Willie Mullins; SP-11/4
2ND-Alzulu 5-11-06 Owner-D Buckle; Trainer-Jimmy FitzGerald; Jockey-Peter Niven; SP-25/1
3RD-Mighty Moss 5-10-13 Owner-Ken Hutsby; Trainer-David Nicholson; Jockey-Mr Fred Hutsby; SP-33/1
24 ran, Time-3m 53.7s, Dist-2, 3 9/4 Fav Andanito (4th)

1995-WINNER-DATO STAR 4-10-12 Owner-Kath Riley & Joe Donald; Trainer-Malcolm Jefferson; Jockey-Mark Dwyer; SP-7/2
2ND-Red Blazer 4-10-12 Owner-Tom Shrimpton; Trainer-Henrietta Knight; Jockey-Jamie Osborne SP-2/1 Fav
3RD-Skehanagh Bridge 6-11-06 Owner-David Pim; Trainer-Willie Mullins IRE; Jockey-Mr Willie Mullins; SP-12/1
21 Ran, Time-4m 02.2s. Dist-1.25, 3.5

1994-WINNER-MUCKLEMEG 6-11-05 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Edward O'Grady IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-7/2 Fav
2ND-Aries Girl 5-11-03 Owner-Wally Sturt; Trainer-Pat Flynn IRE; Jockey-Shay Barry; SP-5/1
3RD-Go Ballistic 5-11-03 Owner-Sheila Lockhart; Trainer-David Nicholson; Jockey-Robert Massey; SP-16/1
25 Ran, Time-3m 53.7s, Dist-3, 15

1993-WINNER-RHYTHM SECTION 4-10-11 Owner-Robert Sinclair; Trainer-Homer Scott IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-16/1
2ND-Heist 4-11-02 Owner-Mrs G Matthews; Trainer-Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-9/4 Fav
3RD-Winter Belle 5-11-13 Owner-John Muldoon; Trainer-Paddy Prendergast IRE; Jockey-John Shortt; SP-7/1
24 Ran, Time-3m 45.2s, Dist-.5, 1

1992-WINNER-MONTELADO 5-11-13 Owner-Ollie Hannon; Trainer-Pat Flynn IRE; Jockey-Richard Dunwoody; SP-8/1
2ND-Tiananmen Square 4-10-12 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Mr Tim Hyde; SP-6/4 Fav
3RD-Maneree 5-11-08 Owner-Michael Tabor; Trainer-Neville Callaghan; Jockey-Declan Murphy; SP-7/1
23 Ran, Time-3m 58.2s, Dist-12, 10



1. The first winner of the Weatherbys Champion Bumper in 1992 was Montelado, who achieved what is thought to be the unique feat of winning two consecutive Festival races. The Bumper, now run on Wednesday, was originally the last race of The Festival. Montelado went on to win the opening race of the The Festival in 1993, the William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

2. Irish-trained runners have a great record, accounting for 14 of the 19 winners. Willie Mullins has incredibly saddled six winners - he also rode his first winner of the race, the 1996 scorer Wither Or Which, while his son Patrick was in the saddle when Cousin Vinny won for the stable in 2008.

3. The five horses to have kept the trophy at home were Dato Star in 1995, Monsignor, who sprang a 50/1 surprise in 1999, Liberman, who gave Martin Pipe his first and only win in the race in 2003, Cue Card, who the 2010 renewal at odds of 40/1, and last year’s victor Cheltenian.

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