Cromwell full of hope for Espoir in Champion Hurdle

Five-year-old all set for Festival

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Gavin Cromwell believes Espoir D’Allen deserves a tilt at the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham next week.

The five-year-old missed the spring Festivals last season, but has returned seemingly better than ever – winning each of his three starts this winter at Grade Three level.

Cromwell fully acknowledges his stable faces a far sterner test at Prestbury Park next Tuesday, but is relishing the challenge.

He said: “We’re getting close, and tensions are building, but thankfully everything has gone good so far. He had a racecourse gallop after Navan on Saturday, and that went well.

“He’s kept improving. He doesn’t show us that much at home, but he keeps winning – and that’s a very important thing.

“It is a huge step, but I think he’s quite entitled to go there – and hopefully he can perform on the day.”

Espoir D’Allen is a best priced 20-1 for the Champion Hurdle – with fellow JP McManus-owned runner Buveur D’Air the narrow favourite as he bids for a third successive victory in the race.

“It’s looking like a very good Champion Hurdle – Buveur D’Air, Apple’s Jade and Laurina are all top-class horses,” Cromwell added.

“I think he (Espoir D”Allen) stays well, and the hill should play to his benefit – I don’t think the track is going to be a problem.

“It’s fantastic to have a runner in Cheltenham, especially in one of the championship races.

“It’s very exciting times for myself and everyone in the yard.”

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Cheltenham 15:30, 12 March 2019

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