Champagne Fever Blazes Supreme Trail
1 Champagne Fever 5/1
5/1 chance Champagne Fever produced a perfect front-running performance to land the William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle to give jockey Ruby Walsh and trainer Willie Mullins the perfect start to the 2013 Cheltenham Festival.
The gutsy grey – winner of last year’s Weatherbys Champion Bumper – took up the running as the tapes lifted and dictated the pace as market rival Un Atout settled in behind. Despite a mistake two out, Ruby Walsh’s mount still led turning for home but 15/8 favourite My Tent Or Yours loomed large and looked like sweeping past the eventual winner.
However, Champagne Fever was not for passing and fought back well when Tony McCoy’s mount came alongside. The son of Stowaway relished the climb to the line and battled up the hill resolutely to record a half-length victory.
“It was a very brave performance from Champagne Fever to lead like that and jump like that,” said trainer Willie Mullins.
“I thought the game was up after the second last but he battled back tremendously. It’s a tremendous thrill for his owner who sadly couldn’t be here today.
“Ruby steadied it and wanted to ride a tactical race from the front and he got it spot on I think. It’s as big a thrill as ever to be in the winner’s enclosure at Cheltenham and it was fantastic to watch him come up the hill.
“It’s the perfect start, absolutely great. I thought Ruby was very good – I didn’t give him any instructions. He said that he wanted to be well up there and I said: ‘If you know what you are going to do, just do it and see what happens’.
“Ruby controlled the pace beautifully from the front. I thought that the game was up when he hit the second last but, fortunately, one or two others did as well.
“At least he had hurdles to get a breather this time after the bumper last year but the performance he put in last year was absolutely fantastic, so he has done it again this year.”
“The plan now is to go to Punchestown and then send him chasing next year. I imagine he’ll get a trip in time but we’re looking forward to seeing him jump a fence.”
“We’ve always thought he’ll get a bit further but his owner has two similar staying types in the shape of Pont Alexandre and Ballycasey and we thought this fellow could cope with the two miles better than those two.”
William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1)
CHAMPAGNE? SAME AGAIN
Ruby Walsh produced a masterclass from the front to take the Cheltenham Festival opener, the William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, on Champagne Fever, hero of the Weatherbys Champion Bumper 12 months previously.
“You’re under such pressure going into this meeting,” he said, “that to get one on in the bag in the first race is a huge relief. I was always going to make the running as I know he’s got pace and he stays. When A P came upsides at the last I didn’t worry too much as I know mine would outbattle anything if he had to. A fight suits his game and he was never going to get beaten.
“I have to say I didn’t think he’d be here after he was beaten by Jezki at Fairyhouse, he never sparked that day and I was wondering that day if he’d have the pace for two miles. But Willie told me not to worry.
“Champagne Fever has come alive in the past fortnight and I watched him work at the Curragh a few weeks ago and his work was scintillating. Patrick (Mullins) has always maintained he is a two miler and an out and out galloper, and he was dead right.
“He jumped like a stag, travelled really well and was not doing a whole lot in front. I knew A P (McCoy) was coming to me because I could hear the crowd revving up – I thought that must be the favourite – but when A P got me, he stuck his head down and went again.”
Whatever Champagne Fever achieves over hurdles is a bonus; he is a chaser in the making. “He’s come to his frame,” added Walsh. “He was a shell of a horse last year, and there’s still more to come. He’s already jumped fences – we’ve schooled him round Punchestown – and in time that will be his job.”
“Ruby said he always had a bit up his sleeve,” said trainer Willie Mullins. “He is a fantastic judge of pace and beforehand we couldn’t see where it was going to come from, so he was keen to make it and control the race.
“I thought for a moment the game was up with the mistake at the second-last, though. But I never had a doubt that he’d stay on up the hill. He did so with a will when he won the bumper last year, a mighty performance, and over hurdles it’s almost easier because horses get a breather in the air.”
GREAT EFFORT, BUT NO EXCUSES FOR McMANUS PAIR
Racehorse owner J P McManus was treated to the thrill of seeing his two runners vying for the spoils in the William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, although they could not pass the winner Champagne Fever.
McManus was magnanimous in defeat, and said: “It’s not too bad once you are in the enclosure – I would prefer to be in the number one spot, but we will make do with it. I think My Tent Or Yours was beaten by a better horse on the day – A P gave our horse a brilliant ride, as did Ruby on the winner. The winner outstayed us and he’s a bit better than us, anyway.”
Frank Berry, racing manager to McManus, said: “They ran blinders, and we’ve no excuses. The second horse jumped like a buck, but was outstayed by a better horse on the day. Jezki ran a bit keen, then made mistakes at the second-last and last flights, but I don’t think those errors stopped him from winning.
“My Tent Or Yours was his usual self, but no keener than when winning at Newbury, and I wouldn’t use this stiffer track as an excuse for not winning. He jumped like a buck, which was the important thing, and was just outbattled.
“I’m sure Jezki will run again at Punchestown, but I’ve not spoken to Nicky Henderson about plans for My Tent Or Yours. Liverpool’s a nice flat track might and that would suit him, so I don’t see why he shouldn’t run again.”
SUPREME NOVICES' HURDLE PREVIOUS RESULTS
2012-WINNER-CINDERS AND ASHES 5-11-07 Owner-Dermot Hanafin & Phil Cunningham; Trainer-Donald McCain; Jockey-Jason
2011-WINNER-AL FEROF 6-11-07 Owner-John Hales; Trainer-Paul Nicholls; Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-10/1
2010-WINNER-MENORAH 5-11-07 Owner-Diana Whateley; Trainer-Philip Hobbs; Jockey-Richard Johnson; SP-12/1
2009-WINNER-GO NATIVE 6-11-07 Owner-Docado Syndicate; Trainer-Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-12/1
2008-WINNER-CAPTAIN CEE BEE 7-11-07 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Edward Harty IRE; Jockey-Robert Thornton; SP-17/2
2006-WINNER-NOLAND 5-11-07 Owner-John Hales; Trainer-Paul Nicholls;
Jockey-Ruby Walsh; SP-6/1
2005-WINNER-ARCALIS 5-11-07 Owner-Andrea & Graham
Wylie; Trainer-Howard Johnson; Jockey-Graham Lee: SP-20/1
2004-WINNER-BRAVE INCA 6-11-07 Owner-Novices Syndicate; Trainer-Colm
Murphy IRE; Jockey-Barry Cash; SP-7/2 Fav
2003-WINNER-BACK IN FRONT 6-11-08 Owner-Dermot
Cox; Trainer-Edward O’Grady
IRE; Jockey-Norman Williamson; SP-3/1 Fav
2002-WINNER-LIKE-A-BUTTERFLY 8-11-03 Owner-J P McManus; Trainer-Christy
Roche IRE; Jockey-Charlie Swan; SP-7/4 Fav
2001 - Cancelled (Foot and Mouth Disease)
2000-WINNER-SAUSALITO BAY 6-11-08 Owner-The High Street Racing Syndicate;
Trainer- Noel Meade IRE; Jockey-Paul Carberry; SP-14/1
1999-WINNER-HORS LA LOI III 4-11-00 Owner-Paul Green; Trainer-Martin
Pipe; Jockey-Tony McCoy; SP-9/2
1998-WINNER-FRENCH BALLERINA 5-11-03 Owner-Sue Magnier; Trainer-Pat
Flynn IRE; Jockey-Graham Bradley; SP-10/1
1997-WINNER-SHADOW LEADER 6-11-08 Owner-James Blackshaw; Trainer-Charles
Egerton; Jockey-Jamie Osborne; SP-5/1
1996-WINNER-INDEFENCE 5-11-08 Owner-Indef Limited; Trainer-Jenny Pitman;
Jockey-Warren Marston; SP-25/1
The William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle was known as the Gloucestershire Hurdle until 1974. Capel Cure Sharp backed the contest in 2000 and the company, which became Gerrard Wealth Management, supported the race until 2003. Racecourse caterers Letheby & Christopher became the sixth sponsor since the initial backer Lloyds Bank in 1974 when putting their name to the event in 2004 and 2005, while Anglo Irish Bank was the sponsor from 2006 to 2008. Bookmaker William Hill first sponsored the race in 2009 and in 2010 the backers were the Stewart Family, on behalf of the charity Spinal Research. Stan James supported the race in 2011 with William Hill taking over the sponsorship again in 2012.
The William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is the only race at The Festival to have been divided. From 1946-1971 when known as the Gloucestershire Novices’ Hurdle, it divided on no less than 25 occasions. In 1963 and 1946 there were even three divisions.
The smallest field was in 1950, with nine runners in Division 1, and the largest, 30 runners, for both Harry Hastings' win in 1985 and French Ballerina’s success in 1998. The maximum field allowed is currently 24.
MOST SUCCESSFUL OWNER
Jim Joel enjoyed three successes with Beau Normand (1961, Division 1), Deetease (1963, Division 3) and Beacon Light (1976).
Since the race ceased to be divided in 1972, the most successful owners are J P McManus and John Hales, who have both owned two winners. McManus was successful with Like-A-Butterfly (2002) and Captain Cee Bee (2008), while Hales triumphed with Noland (2006) and Al Ferof (2011).
MOST SUCCESSFUL TRAINER
Before the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle ceased to be divided, the most successful trainer was Vincent O’Brien, who landed an amazing 10 divisions between 1952 and 1959.
Since 1972, a total of eight trainers have won the race twice. Mick O'Toole (Mac's Chariot (1977), Hartstown (1981)), Edward O'Grady (Golden Cygnet (1978), Back in Front (2003)), Nicky Henderson (River Ceiriog (1986), Flown (1992)), Martin Pipe (Sondrio (1989), Hors La Loi III (1999)), Pat Flynn (Montelado (1993), French Ballerina (1998)), Willie Mullins (Tourist Attraction (1995), Ebaziyan (2007)), Noel Meade (Sausalito Bay (2002), Go Native (2009)) and Paul Nicholls (Noland (2006), Al Ferof (2011)).
MOST SUCCESSFUL JOCKEY
Before 1972, the most successful jockey was Tommy Burns, who landed seven divisions between 1955 and 1959.
Since the race ceased to be divided Charlie Swan (1993 and 2002), Tommy Carmody (1980 and 1983), Niall ‘Boots’ Madden (1978 and 1981), Jamie Osborne (1992 & 1997), Paul Carberry (2000 & 2009) and Ruby Walsh (2005 & 2011) have each won the race twice.
The longest-priced winner was Arctic Kinsman at 50/1 in 1994, while the 2007 victor Ebaziyan is one of only two 40/1 shots to have scored. The shortest-priced winners at 4/9 were Tsaoko in 1950 and Flyingbolt in 1964. Favourites have been successful eight times (20 per cent) in the 40 runnings since 1972.
The oldest horse by far to have won was 12-year-old Beau Caprice in 1966 (Div One).
At the other end of the scale, 13 four-year-olds have been successful, although none since Hors La Loi in
The overall breakdown by age since the race was run as single division in 1972 is as follows:
4yo - 2 wins
The fastest time for the winning horse was achieved by Montelado in 1993 at 3m 50.6s. French Ballerina came close to that record in 1998 when her time was 3m 50.9s.
The race has been won by Irish-trained raiders on no less than 38 occasions, and by the French once. Of the 16 divisions from 1952-59, Vincent O'Brien won an amazing 10. Ireland also kept a stranglehold on the race for seven years from 1977-83 and has won seven of the last 12 runnings, most recently with Go Native in
DID YOU KNOW?
The 1993 winner, Montelado, holds a unique position in the history of The Festival at Cheltenham. He is the only horse to have won consecutive Festival races, landing the Weatherbys Champion Bumper in 1992, the last race of that year’s meeting, and returning to win the William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 1993, the first race 12 months later.
The William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle has thrown up one winner of the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup and three Stan James Champion Hurdle heroes. L'Escargot won in 1968, before consecutive Gold Cup triumphs in 1970 and 1971. Bula scored in 1970, before Champion Hurdle victories in 1971 and 1972, the 2002 Stan James Champion Hurdle winner Hors La Loi III took the race in 1999, and Brave Inca captured the Stan James Champion Hurdle in 2006, having landed the novice event two years earlier.
ANGLO IRISH BANK SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE ROLL OF HONOUR
(William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle from 2012, Stan James Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2011, Spinal Research Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2010, williamhill.com Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2009, Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2006-2008, Letheby & Christopher Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2004-2005, Gerrard Wealth Management Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2003, Gerrard Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2001-02, Capel Cure Sharp Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2000, Citroen Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 1994-99,Trafalgar House Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 1991-93, Waterford Crystal Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 1978-90, Lloyds Bank Champion Novice Hurdle 1974-1977, Gloucestershire Hurdle before 1974)
Year Winner Age/Wt Jockey Trainer Owner SP Ran
2012 Cinders And Ashes 5-11-07 Jason Maguire Donald McCain Dermot Hanafin & Phil Cunningham 10/1 19
|home | associations | bloodstock agents | bookmakers | links | information | jockeys | portals | racecourses | race horse trainers | sales | studs | syndicates | submit site|
|© racingbetter.co.uk • 91 Tribune Drive • Carlisle • CA3 0LE|