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Promising hurdles recruits lace 2014 Arkle with intrigue

| 15.10.2013

Champagne Fever, Chatterbox, River Maigue, and Rebel Fitz are among a whole host of exciting names from the hurdles world for whom novice chasing campaigns could be on the cards ahead of the 2013/14 season.

However, those hoping to be crowned the leading 2m novice fencer at Cheltenham 2014 may want to take note of the bullish noises coming out of Willie Mullins’ Closutton yard in County Carlow with regard to his two-time consecutive Festival winner.

Ever since adding victory in the 2013 Supreme Novices Hurdle to his success in the Champion Bumper the previous year Champagne Fever has occupied a lofty position in the Cheltenham 2014 odds for both the Arkle and the RSA Chase.

His handler, who is not known to be unnecessarily effusive in sweet-talking the prospects of the equine talent at his disposal reportedly described the grey’s homework ahead of the new campaign as ‘electric’.

Although he’s also entered in the RSA over 3m the fact that the son of Stowaway is yet to be bested in two Cheltenham Festival runs over 2m trips suggests the Arkle would be the more conservative choice.

Oscar Whiskey could potentially continue a trend of some really classy hurdlers being chanced over fences in recent seasons after Donald McCain blooded Peddler’s Cross and Overturn in the sphere in recent seasons, although it may be decided that the longer Jewson Novices Chase is more suitable.

Meanwhile Michael Winters’ Rebel Fitz could be an interesting recruit to the novice chasing game after notching five wins and a second over fences before most Arkle contenders had even returned to full work.