Mullins can give punters Champagne Fever in the Champion Bumper

The Champion Bumper is only one of the races at the Cheltenham Festival where trends really don’t play too much in the process of finding the winner.

There have been two winners that have gone off bigger than 33/1 in the last six years and from a betting point of view this race is littered with dangers as horses of this inexperience are likely to improve on what they have shown in the careers so far.

Ireland have usually ruled to roost in this race in recent years, winning seven of the last two renewals and racking up a winning sequence of six between 2004-2009.

When there’s an Irish Cheltenham Bumper winner you can guarantee Willie Mullins probably had something to do with it.

The legendary Irish handler has won the race six times and Champagne Fever looks a very tempting price (14/1) to give Mullins his seventh success in the event. Plenty was expected of the horse on his debut at Leopardstown but he failed to justify strong market support and was beaten by Thomas Edison.

However, he looked more comfortable with life at Fairyhouse last time out where he showed his real running and won by half the track, justifying the 1-4 that they punters had backed him into.

The statistics show that 14 of the 19 winners could be found outside the first six in the betting, which looks good for selection.

Moscow Mannan also looks a good prospect for the race and it would be a really incredible story if the horse can win for small-time trainer Brian Hamilton.

In fact, his stable is so small he’s only ever saddled one runner at Cheltenham – Chief Oscar in the 2009 Foxhunter Chase.

The classy horse is unbeaten in three starts and completed the hat-trick of wins with a fine performance at Gowran Park at the end of January. He could be the biggest danger to the Mullins charge.


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