Champagne Fever beat New Year's Eve in the Champion Bumper
©Healy Racing Photos
A mouthwatering clash between last season's first and second from Cheltenham's Champion Bumper could be on the cards in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown on February 9.
The Willie Mullins-trained Champagne Fever and John Ferguson's New Year's Eve fought out the finish last March and both have shown promise over hurdles.
However, not everything has gone to plan with Champagne Fever who returned a sick horse after his last run which saw him drift in the betting for Cheltenham's novices' hurdles.
New Year's Eve has only run the once but ran a perfectly respectable second to the classy River Maigue at Kempton. Ferguson has also entered Whispering Gallery, a top-class horse from the level who won his hurdling debut recently.
Mullins has another strong contender, however, in the shape of Pont Alexandre who was a very impressive winner on his first start for the yard in Grade One company at Navan.
Jeremy Scott's Melodic Rendezvous, a good winner of the Tolworth Hurdle, is another possible British runner.