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Cossack can quell Fever in Kinloch Brae Chase cracker

Leading Cheltenham Festival hopes Champagne Fever and Don Cossack clash in the Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles today (2.45|), and the latter is taken to come out on top and complete a four-timer.

The Gordon Elliott trained gelding has always been held in the highest regard and has taken his form to a new level this season.

The eight-year-old looks far more stronger and has won his three starts this season in the manner of a top class performer who has plenty more to offer.

In the last of those successes, Don Cossack but up a career-best effort when readily beating Boston Bob in the Grade 1 John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown.

The son of Sholokhov took up the running at the third and travelled well at the head of affairs in the 2m 4f contest before producing a superb leap at the last and only having to be driven out to score by 4 3/4 lengths.

Don Cossack had last year’s Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere a further 1/2 lengtb behind in third, and has nothing to feat from the fourth home Texas Jack who reopposes this afternoon.
Connections were quick to nominate the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival as the target for Don Cossack after that impressive success and he is currently Coral’s 7/1 third favourite a 2m 5f contest on Thursday, March 12th.

If, as anticipated, he comes through this test with flying colours I would expect those odds to shorten as see him become vying for favouritism with Dynaste (5/1).

Today’s race looks a match on paper between Don Cossack and Champagne Fever who drops back in trip after finishing fourth to Silviniaco Conti in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day.
The Willie Mullins trained eight-year-old was far from disgraced in being beaten just over 10 lengths after having every chance until fading two from home.

The drop back in trip today looks sure to suit, and the gelding had previously had little difficulty in beating Alderwood by six lengths in a Grade 2 contest at Clonmel on seasonal reappearance.
However that form doesn’t look strong with the runner-up being beaten out of sight in three subsequent starts, and although Champagne Fever is undoubtedly a class act having won the Champion Bumper and Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at previous Cheltenam Festivals I can’t help but feel that he will have to give second best to the upwardly mobile Don Cossack on this occasion.

Champagne Fever is currently an 6/1 chance with Coral for the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but also holds entries in the Queen Mother Champion Chase and Gold Cup for which he is 8/1 and 20/1 respectively.