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Frodon and Frost sparkle again while Envoi Allen returns to winning ways

Dynamic duo outbattle Galvin at Down Royal.

Image: Kelvin Boyes/INPHO

Updated Oct 30th 2021, 4:25 PM

FRODON AND BRYONY Frost held off Galvin in a thrilling finish to the Champion Chase at Down Royal today.

The first Grade One chase of the new National Hunt season was good enough to grace any of the spring festivals, with all five runners having tasted success at the Cheltenham Festival in the past.

Joining King George winner Frodon was last year’s Gold Cup scorer Minella Indo, as well as dual Grade One winner Delta Work and Galvin, winner of his last six.

Frodon adopted his usual front-running role and put in some prodigious leaps, but Rachael Blackmore was keen not to let Paul Nicholls’ charge get too far ahead on Minella Indo.

The Gordon Elliott trio of Delta Work, Galvin and Ravenhill filled the last three places in the first half of the race, with Ravenhill struggling to keep up.

With five fences still to jump, Frodon’s accurate fencing was putting Minella Indo under pressure but Blackmore nudged her mount to get closer, while Galvin and Delta Work were creeping into it.

As they turned down the hill Frost kicked on, but they were lining up behind her and all three looked huge threats.

Delta Work was the first to crack, but Frodon still had to see off Minella Indo and Galvin.

Minella Indo’s lack of a run then began to tell but Galvin joined Frodon jumping the last two and the pair produced a real thriller.

It was Frodon who prevailed, though, by three-quarters of a length.

Envoi Allen put a nightmare end to last season behind him as he returned to action with a cosy success in the Join Racing TV Chase.

The seven-year-old was unbeaten in 11 races for Gordon Elliott, which included Grade One glory in bumper company as well as over hurdles and fences, before he was switched to the care of Henry de Bromhead by owners Cheveley Park Stud last March.

He then suffered a shock defeat when he crashed out as a hot favourite in the Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival before trying to redeem himself at Punchestown, where he was pulled up with two fences to jump in the Champion Novice Chase.

It later transpired Envoi Allen had chipped a joint, which required surgery, but he showed no ill effects as he made all under Rachael Blackmore in this Grade Two affair.

rachael-blackmore-onboard-envoi-allen-comes-home-to-win Rachael Blackmore comes home to win on Envoi Allen. Source: Declan Roughan/INPHO

Coko Beach pressed Envoi Allen through the early part of the race, but when Blackmore gave the signal before the second-last fence, Envoi Allen upped a gear and soon pulled clear, jumping the final fence in isolation before being eased down for a 22-length win as the 4-11 favourite.

“To be honest I thought he was mighty going to Cheltenham, possibly too well – too fresh and well. It was just unlucky and Punchestown again just didn’t fall right for us.

“It is lovely to start afresh and to start back like that. He jumped brilliant and you can tell by the smile on Rachael’s face the buzz she got off it.

“He will step forward from that. I was so focused on this I hadn’t really discussed anything but the John Durkan would look a very obvious race for him.”

When asked about moving up to three miles and beyond, De Bromhead added: “We’ll see. He is a very pacey horse and I’d say it could go either way.”

Gordon Elliott won the Value Cabs 3yo Hurdle for the fifth time in seven years when new recruit Fil Dor bolted up.

Second on his only outing in France, he looks sure to take high rank among the juvenile division this season given what previous winners of this race have gone on to achieve.


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The likes of Espoir D’Allen and last year’s winner Quilixios show the type of animal usually required to win and Davy Russell never had a worry on the 5-4 joint-favourite.

Mighty Potter (4-9 favourite) ensured it was a quick-fire short-priced double for Elliott in the Tayto Group Maiden Hurdle.

Another race with an illustrious roll of honour, Envoi Allen and Ballyadam being the last two winners, Jack Kennedy was on board this time.

Mighty Potter was going noticeably better than stablemate The Greek when he crashed out at the last, allowing the winner to come home 29 lengths clear.

Russell was on The Greek and twisted his knee in the fall, forcing him to give up his remaining rides.

Russell then missed a winning ride with Kennedy stepping in to steer Eskylane (4-1 joint-favourite) to victory in the Dr Emma Clinics Handicap Hurdle, giving Elliott an opening race treble.

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