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Supreme Champagne helps to explain Stowaway fever.

JOHN CAHILL is the proud breeder of yesterday's William Hill Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner Champagne Fever, but he would not have been the only breeder to have been pleased with the victory of last year's Champion Bumper winner in the festival opener.

Champagne Fever is by Gordon Stakes and Great Voltigeur winner Stowaway, who has risen from relative obscurity to become one of the busiest stallions in Europe.

In the three breeding seasons from 2010 to 2012 Stowaway, a rare son of Derby hero Slip Anchor at stud, has covered no fewer than 823 mares at Ronnie O'Neill's Whytemount Stud in County Kilkenny.

The building of Stowaway's reputation was something of a family effort, as many of the runners in the stallion's small early crops were bred by O'Neill and trained by Shark Hanlon, whose partner is O'Neill's daughter Rachel.

Graded winners Hidden Cyclone and Western Leader, plus the smart Mart Lane, were all bred by Ronnie O'Neill and trained by Hanlon.

Champagne Fever is a halfbrother to Presenting Forever, who finished eighth in the National Hunt Chase at the festival in 2010. The pair are out of the Roselier mare Forever Bubbles, who hails from the family of Whitbread Gold Cup winner Andy Pandy.

Glenview glory Not one stallion on yesterday's opening day of the festival managed to get more than one winner or placed horse on the board, but the Cashman family's Glenview Stud enjoyed a good day at the office nonetheless.

Glenview Stud in County Cork is the home of Robin Des Champs, whose daughter Quevega landed a historic fifth consecutive OLBG Mares' Hudle, and former champion sire Presenting, whose son Rajdhani Express scored in the Rewards4Racing Novices' Handicap Chase.

Presenting has arguably the best festival record of any active sire, with two Gold Cup winners - Denman and War Of Attrition - and other Grade 1 winners Dunguib, First Lieutenant and Weapon's Amnesty.

Robin Des Champs isn't doing too badly either; not only is he the sire of Quevega, but he has also supplied another multiple festival scorer in Sir Des Champs, a live chance for Friday's Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.

To hammer home how judicious Glenview Stud is in its stallion selection, Rajdhani Express yesterday beat into second Ackertac, who is by Presenting's late studmate Anshan.

Dams racing ahead 'Race National Hunt fillies and mares' has been the recent rallying cry of studs and breeders' associations as they try to halt the depression in prices of jumps fillies at auction.

Yesterday's action at Cheltenham was a good advert for racing mares before they are bred from, as Champagne Fever was the only one of the winners to be out of an unraced dam.

While Hurricane Fly is out of a Flat winner, the dams of Simonsig, Golden Chieftain, Quevega and Rajdhani Express all scored over jumps.

Martin Stevens

LEADING STALLIONS AT THE FESTIVAL stallion sire location winners 2nds 3rds Fair Mix Linamix Shade Oak Stud, UK 1 Montjeu Sadler's Wells Dead 1 Presenting Mtoto Glenview Stud, Ire 1 Robin Des Champs Garde Royale Glenview Stud, Ire 1 Stowaway Slip Anchor Whytemount Stud, Ire 1 Tikkanen Cozzene Glebe House Stud, UK 1 Anshan Persian Bold Dead 1 Desert Prince Green Desert Scuderia Andy Capp, Ity 1 Dom Alco Dom Pasquini Dead 1 Karinga Bay Ardross Dead 1 King's Theatre Sadler's Wells Dead 1 Oscar Sadler's Wells Coolmore NH, Ire 1 Exit To Nowhere Irish River Retired 1 Flemensfirth Alleged Coolmore NH, Ire 1 Haafhd Alhaarth Beechwood Grange Stud, UK 1 King's Best Kingmambo Darley, Jpn 1 Milan Sadler's Wells Coolmore NH, Ire 1 Saddlers' Hall Sadler's Wells Dead 1

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Ronnie O'Neill with Stowaway, one of Europe's busiest sires
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 13, 2013
Words:612
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