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Envoi Allen extends unbeaten run with easy win, Aspire Tower too good for Abacadabras

The De Bromhead runner surprised the hot favourite at Down Royal.

Aspire Tower ridden by Rachael Blackmore clears the last before going on to win the WKD Hurdle at Down Royal Racecourse.
Aspire Tower ridden by Rachael Blackmore clears the last before going on to win the WKD Hurdle at Down Royal Racecourse.
Image: PA

ENVOI ALLEN predictably outclassed his rivals as he made a foot-perfect start to his career over fences at Down Royal.

Bought for £400,000 by Cheveley Park Stud, Gordon Elliott’s unbeaten six-year-old has so far lived up to his hefty price tag, with his eight previous wins under Rules including a pair of Cheltenham Festival triumphs in the Champion Bumper and the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

Faced with just four rivals in the Advanced NI Scaffolding Beginners Chase – a race his trainer had won with the top-class pair of Delta Work and Samcro in the last two years – Envoi Allen was a prohibitively priced 1-14 favourite under Jack Kennedy.

After initially bouncing out in front when the tapes went up, Envoi Allen was then given a lead by rank outsider Soi Cowboy for much of the two-and-a-half-mile contest, before taking over again racing down the back straight.

Jumping accurately throughout, the six-year-old stamped his authority on the race from the home turn — safely negotiating the final two obstacles and quickening up smartly under hand driving to score by six lengths from January Jets.

Paddy Power trimmed his odds from 5-2 to 9-4 for the Marsh Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham next March, while Coral offer just 2-1.

Elliott said: “Brilliant! You loved the way he switched off and went by them, you just love his attitude. You couldn’t be happier.

“Jack (Kennedy) said he popped away and he quickened after the second-last. That’s what he was bought for, he’s a chaser and it’s nice to get that out of the way.

“He was good and coming out of Colin Bowe’s (where he won his point-to-point), he had plenty of work done (over fences).

“I imagine all being well he will go for the Drinmore at Fairyhouse.”

Meanwhile, Aspire Tower proved too strong for fellow Cheltenham Festival runner-up Abacadabras in the WKD Hurdle.

The Gordon Elliott-trained Abacadabras was the 8-15 favourite for the Grade Two feature – making his first competitive appearance since being beaten a head by Shishkin in a thrilling renewal of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in March.

Henry de Bromhead’s Aspire Tower, last seen finishing behind Burning Victory in the Triumph Hurdle, was in receipt of 6lb from the market leader and was a 3-1 chance in the hands of Rachael Blackmore.

Sent straight to the lead, Aspire Tower jumped well in the main and was followed into the home straight by his stablemate Jason The Militant and Abacadabras, with the trio well clear of the remainder.

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Abacadabras looked to be travelling best between the final two flights, but Aspire Tower refused to bend and was going away again at the finish – coming home with four and a half lengths in hand over Abacadabras, who pipped Jason The Militant to second.

Paddy Power cut Aspire Tower to 14-1 from 50-1 for the Champion Hurdle next March, with Abacadabras pushed out to 8-1 from 5-1.

De Bromhead said: “I’m delighted with that. He was so good at Leopardstown at Christmas last year and I just felt after that his form didn’t look as good. He’s a big four-year-old who had just come off the Flat and maybe everything caught up with him a little bit as the season went on.

“We gave him a really good break and it’s fantastic that he has come back like that.

“Rachael was brilliant on him, he is tough out and he did it the hard way on his first run since March.”

“I’m delighted with Jason (The Militant) as well, he ran really well and Paul (Townend) thought he would come on from that.”

When asked if he will be training Aspire Tower as a Champion Hurdle horse, the trainer added: “I think he is entitled to certainly step up again. I’ll speak to the lads and see what everyone wants to do.

“I would imagine we would look at Christmas and see what is going on there.”

Elliott said of Abacadabras: “You are always disappointed when you don’t win. Jack (Kennedy) said he had a bit of a blow after the second last. He was riding like he was going to win cantering and just blew up.

“I was disappointed, but Jack said not to be too disappointed and that he had a blow and he is going to come on from that.

“Take nothing away from the winner, he looked very good on the day no matter what we did.

“We’ll see how he is and look at the Morgiana Hurdle in Punchestown.”

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