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Champagne Fever given green light by Mullins to go for Arkle

Willie Mullins has given a clear indication that Champagne Fever will bid for a Cheltenham Festival hat-trick in the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase after previously keeping punters guessing over his intended engagement at Prestbury Park.

The popular seven-year-old grey gelding landed the Weatherbys Champion Bumper in 2012 and then the Supreme Novices' Hurdle last term before being sent over fences this season.

After comfortably opening his account over 2m 4f in a beginners event at Punchestown, Champagne Fever disappointed when third to Defy Logic in Grade 1 company over 2m 1f at Leopardstown on Boxing Day.

Having been absent since that setback, supporters were somewhat in the dark over which race he would go for at the 2014 Festival, but Mullins has finally revealed he intends to drop back in trip again at Cheltenham, as he did when securing Supreme success.

At his pre-Festival media day, Mullins remarked: "For Champagne Fever it looks like it's going Arkle-wise. I think it has to be the RSA for Ballycasey and so the JLT has to be the target for Felix Yonger."

Felix Yonger will be hoping to make it third time lucky at the Festival after struggling in the 2011 Champion Bumper before finishing second to Simonsig in the following season's Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle.

The eight-year-old returned from over a year on the sidelines to begin his chasing career with three straight victories before being turned over at short odds by The Paparrazi Kid at Limerick and then chasing home Trifolium in the Irish Arkle, so stepping back up to 2m 4f for the JLT Novices' Chase seems a sensible option.

Ballycasey is unbeaten over fences, staying on well to score at Navan over 2m 1f and then landing a Grade 1 success at 2m 5f in the Dr PJ Moriarty Chase at Leopardstown to establish his credentials as a strong contender for the 3m RSA Chase. 


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Champagne Fever given green light by Mullins to go for Arkle

Willie Mullins has given a clear indication that Champagne Fever will bid for a Cheltenham Festival hat-trick in the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase after previously keeping punters guessing over his intended engagement at Prestbury Park.

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