Neptune Hurdle Antepost Betting: The Betfair Trader's view

Can Champagne Fever land another Festival win?

Recent winners include Simonsig and Peddlers Cross so which horse is Alan Thompson backing to join the roll-call of Cheltenham champions?

"Champagne Fever is proven at the Festival and given connections it would be folly to overlook him at the current 27.026/1."

Trends and Stats 
Twenty-eight of the last 29 winners first or second last time out
Twenty-two of the last 26 winners had run at least three times over hurdles
Nineteen of the last 20 winners were aged five or six
All 21 four-year-olds have finished unplaced since 1991
Only one winner older than six since 1974
Twenty-five of the last 27 winners started in the first six of the betting

My Leading Contenders
Ponte Alexandre
Won his last race in the style of a good horse, but part of me thinks he was given an easy time up front and Ruby kept winding and winding from the front. Uncertain to get his own way up front and I'm concerned about his liking of what will surely be better ground. Too short on what he's showed me.

The New One
Impressed me at Warwick when showing a great engine despite not jumping great and then impressed me even more at Cheltenham last time when getting touched off close home by a stronger stayer. Jumped better on the latter occasion and importantly showed a great surge to take him clear before fading. That surge is the kind which wins these top-class races and it is interesting that he effectively had them beat and the race won only for it to have it snatched from him. Better ground will suit him and think he should be in the first three.

Puffin Billy
There are form lines running through his races which suggest he could be very good and he has been winning in very good style. But it is hard to effectively get a proper handle on him because he hasn't beaten a horse of real note and for that reason we cannot pin our colours to his mast, nor can we rule him out.

Tarquin de Seuil
Gave My Tent Or Yours 5lb and was beaten less than two lengths by that rival, staying on well at the finish over 2m. Came into his own when upped in trip and a ready winner of the Challow Hurdle. This trip on the likely better ground should suit him and I think he could well get the cover and strongly run race he needs to run a big race.

Rule The World
Gained his prominence in the market by thrashing Minsk and Champagne Fever last time out. Have to think Champagne Fever didn't run his race and Minsk clattered enough hurdles to take its toll on him in the closing stages. Again, the bottomless ground he's been winning on and his ability to translate that to Cheltenham on better ground would be a worry, as is the fact that Gigginstown horses tend improve for fences makes me think he has big days to come but that doesn't necessarily include this race.

Champagne Fever
Winner of the Cheltenham Bumper but held by Rule The World when seemingly not running his race. Capable and the type to really appreciate the ground and this trip. Proven at the Festival and given connections it would be folly to overlook him at the current 27.026/1.

Who I'm Backing
I like the The New One but he's priced right on the money for me. Champagne Fever at 19.018/1 is price that could prove a very workable one. The better the ground the shorter his price should get and he'll certainly appreciate conditions more than most.

There's nothing at bigger prices to excite me and I'll be keeping stakes low for the time being.

Recommended Bet 
Back Champagne Fever @ 19.018/1 

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