Stowaway fever

The first two days of Cheltenham 2012 were dominated by the Sadler’s Wells tribe, in particular Oscar. However it was nice to see Stowaway a sire that we previously tipped for greatness (see earlier post) sire his first Cheltenham winner. The horse in question was Champagne Fever (2007 g Stowaway ex Forever Bubbles by Roselier) who determinedly held off all challengers to give his trainer Willie Mullins an incredible 7th bumper victory.

Career to date:

Champagne Fever was an impressive point to point winner at Quakerstown in April 2011. His first start under rules was at Leopardstown’s Christmas festival. This is often the venue for Willie Mullins to unleash his best bumper prospects and Champagne Fever obviously shown a lot of potential as he started odds on. However he had to give second best to Thomas Edison. Champagne Fever reappeared on the 22nd of January where he had little difficulty in opening his account at 1/4.  He was 16-1 and on the face of it not the stable selected for the Cheltenham Bumper but he battled bravely to repel all challengers and given that he has already won a point to point, he seems to have a bright future ahead over the bigger obstacles.

Pedigree

Stowaway is to my mind the most interesting national hunt sire in Ireland. He has earned respect the hard way and if he can survive for another few years he will benefit from massive books of increasing quality. As a son of Slip Anchor (with only one cross of Northern Dancer in the fourth remove) he offers an obvious choice for any of the thousands of granddaughters of Sadler’s Wells now in the National Hunt broodmare band.

Champagne Fever’s dam Forever Bubbles was unraced but she is a daughter of an outstanding jumps sire in Roselier. To date Forever Bubbles is the dam of a useful winner in Presenting Forever (by Presenting) and placed offspring by Luso and Topanoora. The second dam Cool Blue was a daughter of an even better jumps sire in Deep Run and she was a winner over hurdles and has become the dam of two winners to date. There is nothing particularly classy close up in the pedigree, but like any pedigree if you go back far enough you will eventually find something worthwhile. In the case of Champagne Fever you need to go back to her fifth dam Blue Petrel who was the ancestress of Andy Pandy who was well clear in Red Rum’s 1977 National when falling at Beechers, but who gained compensation 3 weeks later in the Whitbread. In addition the likes of Scottish National winner Belmont Kin  and graded winners The Bajan Bandit and TheRealBandit can be traced to Blue Petrel.  However these are distant connections and the pedigree is no more than modest and this is reflected in the price of €17,500 realised for Champagne Fever at the 2010 Tattersalls Derby Sale.

Conclusion

Champagne Fever is from an unremarkable family but on the damside the names Roselier and Deep Run appear and these are amongst the best national hunt stallions to ever stand in Ireland.  It is premature to include Stowaway in such company but he is certainly starting to make his mark.  Willie Mullins described Champagne Fever as “a big light framed horse” but he has a great engine and it will be no surprise to see him return to Cheltenham for further glory in the years ahead.

CHAMPAGNE FEVER (IRE) 2007 g gr

Stowaway
(GB) 1994
Slip
Anchor (GB) 1982
Shirley
Heights (GB) 1975
Mill
Reef (USA) 1968
Hardiemma
(GB) 1969
Sayonara
(GER) 1965
Birkhahn
(GER) 1945
Suleika
(GER) 1954
On
Credit (FR) 1988
No
Pass No Sale (IRE) 1982
Northfields
(USA) 1968
No
Disgrace (IRE) 1976
Noble
Tiara (USA) 1981
Vaguely
Noble (GB) 1965
Tayyara
(IRE) 1975
Forever
Bubbles (IRE) 1992
Roselier
(FR) 1973
Misti
(FR) 1958
Medium
(FR) 1946
Mist
(FR) 1953
Peace
Rose (FR) 1959
Fastnet
Rock (FR) 1947
La
Paix (FR) 1951
Cool
Blue (GB) 1976
Deep
Run (GB) 1966
Pampered
King (GB) 1954
Trial
By Fire (FR) 1958
Blue
Buck (GB) 1968
Royal
Buck (GB) 1957
Blue
Jirao (GB) 1957

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