Envoi Allen maintained the perfect start to his career with a smart display to beat stablemate Abacadabras in the Baroneracing.com Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse.
Winner of the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham last season, Gordon Elliott’s five-year-old had also since scored on his hurdling debut at Down Royal.
Davy Russell dominated from the front on him that day, and set out to do the same again, but Mark Walsh on Joseph O’Brien’s Embittered was keen to not give him an easy lead.
Envoi Allen jumped fluently for the most part – and turning into the straight, Russell put his foot to the floor and soon had most of the others in trouble.
On the run to the last, Abacadabras emerged as the chief threat – and Elliott had repeatedly stated prior to the race that of the two Abacadabras might be the quicker horse.
However, Envoi Allen got away from the last much quicker and the 8-11 favourite pulled away to win by a length and a half.
Gavin Cromwell’s Darver Star was two and a half lengths away in third.
The winner was even given a quote of 8-1 for the Champion Hurdle by Paddy Power, with the same firm making him 2-1 for the Ballymore and 5-2 for the Supreme.
Elliott said: “That’s a relief, but they are two very good horses. We like Abacadabras a lot, and we think Envoi Allen is the real thing.
“The one thing that could beat him is a slow pace, and we had to do all our own donkey work. His jumping was class, apart from the last.
“He could step up in trip, but I’ll have to talk to Davy and the owners, and we’ll make out mind up. He’ll be entered in everything and could run next at Christmas or Naas (Grade One Lawlor’s Novice Hurdle).”