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Ruby Walsh: Faugheen & Champagne Fever have me pumped at Kempton and you could be on Easy Street at Leopardstown

by Ruby Walsh | December 26, 2014

I’ve a hat-trick of chances today at Kempton and I hope one hits the net at least while Willie Mullins has a batallion of horses at the Irish meetings.

Sempre Medici (12.50pm).

He won well at Cork but needs to show a little more respect to his hurdles here. This is a big step up in class but his schooling and his work has been decent – before and after that race. Should be plenty of pace on with Sam Twiston-Davies’ mount Arzal   – so we’ll see where he ranks after this contest.

Faugheen (2pm)

He’s improved a good bit since Ascot and we’re very happy where he is and where we want him to be.

If he’s going to justify Champion Hurdle favouritism – he’s going to have to win today.

Faugheen Cheltenham

Champagne Fever

He’s trying 3m for the first time but even when he was running over 2m we always thought that this longer trip will suit him. I’ve got huge respect for the reigning champ Silviniaco Conti but I think Champagne Fever will stay but how confident can you be going into a quality race like the King George?

He’s a class act and when you look at his Supreme Novices’ win he beat Jezki, My Tent or Yours and a Royal Ascot winner in Pique Sous. He has to step up – but I wouldn’t swap him for anything else.

Cheltenham ante post 1024

Leopardstown

Alvisio Ville 12.15pm

A strapping grey horse who was third on his only run in France. Already looks like he’ll be a better chaser than hurdler but he’s working as well as anything of Willie Mullins’ that have already won maiden hurdles. If he transmits that to the racecourse he’d have a great chance.

Kalkir, Tarabiyn & Verawal 1.20pm

No prizes for guessing that Kalkir is the best of the three here. I wouldn’t say he’s improved much from that Fairyhouse win but I’d expect his jumping to be a lot slicker here.

Vautour840

Vatour 2.55pm

You have to love everything he did at Navan. We ride him quite prominently and make us of him as a bit like Champagne Fever he’s going to want further in time.

He’s not a fast horse – he’s got a great cruising speed and a great jumper. Leopardstown suits stayers rather than speed horses so with a clear round of jumping he’s going to be very very hard to beat.

Easy Street 3.25pm

Some of the bumper horses did nice pieces of work a while ago and one of those was Easy Strret.

He has a fantastic pedigree but there’s plenty of chat for a few others. Jim Culloty’s runner was fourth to LiveLoveLaugh at Punchestown and should come on for the run while Falcon Crest was second to Bordini.

Of all the horses Patrick could have picked to ride in this bumper (or gone to Limerick to ride Perfect Gentleman below)– he’s gone for this fella. That has to be significant.

December Fallers 1430

Limerick

Urticare 1.05pm

Urticare is finding it hard to win at the moment and has come back from fences to hurdling.

If she comes out of the air and attacks her hurdles she has a chance – but judging on her Clonmel run it looks a big ‘if’.

Uranna 1.35pm

She bumped into a good one on her debut in Kauto Grand Mogul and looked a bit slow even though she’d been working well at home.

She should come on from that run and I doubt Danny (Mullins) will be hanging around on her today.

Adriana Des Mottes & Perfect Gentleman (2.05pm)

Adriana Des Mottes only has 10st to carry and is defintely the pick of Willie’s two. Gilgamboa was a good winner at Navan but I’m not sure if Wounded Warriror will be suited by Limerick’s easier track than his win at the Meath course.

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