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Envoi Allen's perfect 10 leads sensational day for Elliott and Kennedy at Fairyhouse

Envoi Allen, Ballyadam and Zanahiyr bring up quick treble for trainer Gordon Elliott and jockey Jack Kennedy.

10 out of 10: Envoi Allen's perfect run continues.
10 out of 10: Envoi Allen's perfect run continues.
Image: PA

ENVOI ALLEN CRUISED to victory and stretched his unbeaten record under rules to 10 with a faultless performance in the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse.

Gordon Elliott’s superstar, already a dual winner at the Cheltenham Festival at the tender age of six, did not appear to put a foot wrong in the Grade One, jumping like an old handicapper in the hands of Jack Kennedy.

Only three were brave enough to take him on, with one of those his stablemate Coko Beach and the other two both trained by Joseph O’Brien.

Kennedy kept it simple and set out to make all – and everything went according to plan.

Rachael Blackmore and Assemble put it up to Envoi Allen approaching the second last – but if anything the scent of competition spurred the 2-11 favourite on, and he attacked the last two fences with vigour.

He popped the last on his way to an eight-and-a-half length success to build on his already sky-high reputation.

Betfair make him their 15-8 favourite for the Marsh Chase at Cheltenham in March.

“A clear round is all you want, and Jack said he was foot perfect the whole way,” said Elliott.

“The second last can be tricky here, so he let him back on his hocks – and once he gave him a squeeze after that, it was all over.

“The one thing he did say is he’s having a good blow, so there’s plenty of improvement in him. He had to be fit coming here today, but there’s a lot of improvement in him.

Elliott added: “We might miss Christmas – we’re thinking about a race at Punchestown, a Grade Two in January, and then on to the Marsh. He has the pace for two miles, but we’ll keep him to his own division.

“Three miles wouldn’t be a problem, nor would two. He won the Royal Bond last year, but the Marsh will be his race.

The victory brought up a quick Grade One double for Elliott and Kennedy after Ballyadam maintained his unbeaten record over obstacles in a fascinating renewal of the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle.

Sent off the 8-15 favourite having won by a wide margin on his hurdling debut, Ballyadam faced much sterner opposition. The field was tightly grouped throughout as Dewcup and The Very Man set only a steady pace, with N’golo and Ballyadam just behind in third and fourth.

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When the pace quickened turning into the straight Kennedy gave Ballyadam an inch of rein, and he quickened up smartly, but Cask Mate was making ground from the rear.

Ballyadam got in tight to the last as Cask Mate landed running and closed to within a length, but the favourite still had plenty left to go away again at the finish and win by a length and a half – with N’golo running on again into third.

Betfair make the winner their 13-2 favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in March.

Earlier, Elliott and Kennedy were in the winner’s enclosure as Zanahiyr was catapulted into Triumph Hurdle favouritism following a stunning display in the Grade Three Juvenile Hurdle.

The contest was arguably the strongest race of its type run this season, with Willie Mullins’ Saint Sam and Joseph O’Brien’s Druid’s Altar also representing strong form.

Approaching the second last, Druid’s Altar was left behind, and it soon became apparent that Kennedy on Zanahiyr was travelling much better than the odds-on favourite.

He was soon sent clear, and Paul Townend quickly accepted the result on Saint Sam, as Zanahiyr (16-5) pulled 14 lengths clear.

The ex-Mick Halford-trained winner is 10-1 favourite for the Triumph with Coral.

“He’ll probably want another run before the Triumph,” Elliott said, “so he could go to Leopardstown at Christmas or February. We’ll try and keep him and Quilixios apart as long as we can.

“That’s Noel and Valerie Moran’s first Graded winner, so that’s very important as well. They are big investors in the game.”


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