Rule The World celebrates victory with flat Champagne

 

If the champagne was undeniably flat, it would be a mistake to draw ungenerous conclusions about the potency of the toast raised in its stead. For while his big rival at Naas yesterday was plainly not himself, the breakthrough success of Rule The World suggested that he could yet live up to his incautious christening.

Champagne Fever, the outstanding bumper horse of last season, was sent off at just 1-4 to beat four rivals in the Slaney Novice Hurdle.

After an easy maiden win over timber, the grey had run a fine second to Jezki – subsequently so impressive at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting – and Willie Mullins was optimistic that the step up to two and a half miles now might elevate Champagne Fever towards the top of that division.

Ruby Walsh evidently shared that belief, setting a purposeful gallop over deep ground, but turning for home it was evident that something was amiss.

Champagne Fever was off the bridle before Minsk, who had shadowed him throughout, and soon struggling to hold his place. Rule The World had meanwhile crept on to their heels, travelling very strongly under Davy Russell.

As Champagne Fever dropped right away, apparently exhausted, Russell was able to restrain his mount until easing into the lead approaching the final flight.

Rule The World surged clear more or less under his own steam, and was eased down to score by 16 lengths from Minsk, with another 24 back to the favourite.

Rule The World had been green when worried out of a race over three miles at Cork in November, but his record so far is otherwise unblemished.

He is in the very best of hands, with Mouse Morris, and you can only pray that luck stays on their side because this is only a beginning. Asked about the horse a few weeks ago, Morris had seemed to question his readiness for Cheltenham – but his hand may have been forced now.

"He is a big, raw bugger," Morris reiterated afterwards. "We'll take it handy with him. It's easy to be a good judge when you have a machine like that. Davy gave him a super ride, and he jumped super. We'll have to talk to the owners and see where we go."

Coral were quick to recommend the Festival, quoting Rule The World 10-1 for the Neptune Investment Novice Hurdle. They eased Champagne Fever to the same price, from 6-1, but Mullins still has the 5-1 favourite in Pont Alexandre.

Turf account

NAP: Lastkingofscotland (4.30 Kempton) A good second off this new mark in a better race over course and distance last week.

NEXT BEST: Pipers Piping (3.20 Wolverhampton) Has plunged down the handicap and showed conspicuous signs of renewal last time.

ONE TO WATCH: Swnymor (Tim Vaughan) was on the point of following up his debut success when falling at Chepstow on Saturday.

WHERE THE MONEY'S GOING:

Teaforthree, gallant runner-up in the Welsh version on Saturday, is 20-1 from 25-1 with Betfred for the John Smith's Grand National.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Multi Drop Driver

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This food distribution company ...

Recruitment Genius: Yards Person

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Yards person required for fencing and landscap...

Recruitment Genius: Nursery Nurse and Room Leader - Hackney

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a qualified childcare p...

Recruitment Genius: Agency Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent