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?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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: PHP Developer - 3-4 Month Fixed Contract - £30-£35k pro rata

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a 3-4 month pro rata fi...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £26,000+

£16000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Freight Forward Senior Operator

£22000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This logistics firm are looking...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map