All roads lead back to the Cheltenham Festival for Envoi Allen following his latest demolition job at Punchestown.
Already a dual winner at the showpiece meeting, having won the Champion Bumper and the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle in the past two seasons, the Cheveley Park Stud-owned gelding is this year bound for the Marsh Novices’ Chase – for which he is odds-on with most bookmakers.
Gordon Elliott’s charge appeared to face his toughest test over fences to date in conceding 11lb to Grade One-winning hurdler Asterion Forlonge earlier this month.
However, the latter crashed out at the very first fence, leaving Envoi Allen clear to extend his unbeaten record under rules to 11 with the minimum of fuss.
Chris Richardson, Cheveley Park’s managing director, said: “It was a shame that the horse was never able to have a proper race, which is what we really wanted to do, rather than what ended up being a piece of work really.
“It was a bit of anti-climax in the end. We were hoping we’d have a bit of a race on our hands, but sadly it didn’t happen.
“He came out of the race fine and bouncing – he was having a ball in his field the next day, having a roll in the mud.
“He’s a very intelligent horse – he knows exactly what he’s up to – and we’re lucky to have him.
“Cheltenham is the next stop.”
More renowned for success on the Flat, Cheveley Park Stud has become a formidable force in the National Hunt sphere in the last couple of years.
Envoi Allen is one of several leading hopes for the team at this year’s Festival, along with the likes of Cheltenham Gold Cup hope A Plus Tard and Champion Bumper favourite Sir Gerhard.
However, Richardson admits he will have mixed emotions watching the horses in action following the recent death of David Thompson, joint-owner of Cheveley Park along with his wife Patricia.
“The Flat is very much more my scene, but it’s been fantastic to be involved with the National Hunt horses,” he added.
“It’s obviously sad the boss isn’t here to watch the horses that he loved so much, and enjoy the new adventure he embarked upon.
“Let’s hope that they continue to do him proud.”
Source : Sky Sports