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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Champagne start for Bumper heroHeadlines
Champagne Fever

Champagne Fever made the perfect start to life over timber with victory in the I.N.H. Stallion Owners European Breeders Fund Maiden Hurdle at Cork.

The high-class bumper horse, winner of championship events at the Cheltenham and Punchestown festivals, was sent off the 1-8 favourite and barely saw another rival.

Ridden confidently from the front by Paul Townend, the Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old never had to be asked a question in strolling to a five-length success from Andunowhat, jumping well throughout.

Mullins said: "He did nothing wrong. He jumped big and he wasn't helped by all the messing at the start. He'll keep at hurdling."

Edward O'Grady was happy he made the right choice for Staying Article after the seven-year-old gelding won the Follow Us On Facebook Hurdle.

The 5-4 shot was always close to the pace before taking the lead four out, after which he stayed on to defeat odds-on favourite Blackstairmountain by a length.

O'Grady said: "We had three options with Staying Article this weekend - either come here for this, or else go to either Punchestown or Cheltenham. He was 10lb 'wrong' with Blackstairmountain today that was a good confidence-booster for him.

"He's in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse but I might instead go for a race there the day before. That was a good performance."

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