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Envoi Allen could be aimed at Punchestown after disappointing Cheltenham fall

Cheveley Park Stud’s hot favourite crashed out at Cheltenham last week.

Envoi Allen is likely to head to Punchestown next.
Envoi Allen is likely to head to Punchestown next.
Image: PA Wire

ENVOI ALLEN COULD aim to atone for his fall at Cheltenham with an outing at the Punchestown Festival.

Now with Henry de Bromhead following his switch from Gordon Elliott, Envoi Allen suffered the first defeat of his career last week in the Marsh Novices’ Chase.

He was just about the only disappointment in a stellar week for owners Cheveley Park Stud, who celebrated three winners and two seconds.

“Before the Festival we thought Envoi Allen might be our winner and the others might go close, but it wasn’t to be for him. He’ll learn from that,” said the stud’s managing director Chris Richardson.

“Unfortunately he made his first mistake of the season at the wrong time. He was a little upset beforehand, a bit on his toes and Jack (Kennedy) was trying to get him settled.

“He’d only been in small fields up to now, and with horses around him he probably wasn’t focussed on the job in hand. Luckily both him and Jack were fine and we can look forward to many more occasions going forward.

“He’s in at Fairyhouse over Easter. As long as he’s fine, obviously travelling can take a bit out of a horse, Punchestown would probably be favourite I would suspect, but that is something the Thompsons will discuss.”

One of the most impressive displays of the week was Allaho in the Ryanair, and all options are open to him over seemingly all trips.

“Allaho was impressive. I think for my part, two and a half miles suits him really well. Over three miles we were always wondering if he quite got home,” said Richardson.

“He’s got a great future. Whether we drop him back to two miles or stay and two and a half, he could still get three one day as well. He was spectacular to watch so we’re excited to see what he does next.

“Everything looks open to him. Richard Thompson (owner) will speak to Willie (Mullins), but the Melling Chase at Aintree is an option over two and a half miles, going left-handed, that must be a consideration, but it will all come out in the wash. It’s exciting to have a horse of that calibre and he certainly caught the imagination in every way.”

As well as Sir Gerhard in the Bumper, Quilixios carried the Cheveley colours to victory in the Triumph Hurdle.

“Going into the race he was four from four and by then Rachael (Blackmore) was just full of confidence and gave him a fantastic ride. It was a stellar performance and confirmed how good he potentially is,” said Richardson.

A Plus Tard was a length and a half away from making a memorable week unforgettable in the Gold Cup and Aintree is on his agenda.

Richardson said: “I think A Plus Tard showed he stayed the trip well enough and he’s only a young horse, hopefully he’ll have a few more goes at it. He’s only seven.

“We may see him back at Aintree where that track would suit him, if the travelling and the race hasn’t taken too much out of him. He needs to go left-handed ideally.”

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Cheveley Park are still relative newcomers to the National Hunt scene after the late David Thompson decided he wanted to cheer on a small but select string in the winter months. Thompson sadly died in January.

“We sent a small but strong team, but to have three winners and two seconds was fantastic and it was a fitting tribute to David Thompson,” said Richardson.

“David Thompson wanted them to run in Cheveley’s colours and wanted some action during the winter months. We couldn’t have dreamed it would work out so well.

“Last week really was pinch yourself stuff and a great credit to the Thompsons, and Tom Malone and Alex Elliott who source the horses.

“It’s obviously been a very tough time and it would have been lovely had David Thompson seen Cheltenham week, but it wasn’t to be. He certainly leaves a great legacy.”

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