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Formscan By Gary Carson - CHAMPAGNE FEVER lost little in defeat on his second start over hurdles when losing out to Jezki in the Royal Bond. That rival went on to destroy his opposition at Leopardstown and looks top of the tree among novices at the moment. Willie Mullins just felt that Champagne Fever may have set the race up for him at Fairyhouse. Last year's Chelteham bumper winner is still a top-class prospect and it's interesting that the former point-to-pointer now steps up in trip to two-and-a-half miles here. He looks the class act and should prove hard to beat. Minsk looked like he was going to get involved in the Royal Bond as he travelled strongly before the straight. He found little, however, and is hard to fancy to turn the tables now. Rule The World was impressive when beating Joncol at Navan although the former Hennessy winner doesn't look the force of old. It was still a good performance and the form of his previous narrow defeat at Cork has worked out really well. He looks an improver and may give the selection most to do. Captain Arceus looks short of this level while Downpatrick winner Sizing Jo'burg has a lot more on his plate now.
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A novice hurdle race for five yrs old and upwards
Weights - A novice hurdle race for five yrs old and upwards
Allowances - 5-y-o 11st; 6-y-o and up 11st 3lb; Mares allowed 7lb
Riders - Winner of three hurdle races or of a Grade 3 hurdle race 3lb extra; Of two Grade 3 hurdle races or of a Grade 2 hurdle race 5lb extra; Of a Grade 1 hurdle race 7lb extra
Probable SP 8/11 Champagne Fever, 4/1 Minsk, 9/2 Rule The World, 12/1 Captain Arceus, 14/1 Sizing Jo'burg, Joncol.