Envoi Allen extended his unbeaten career record with an impressive victory on his debut over hurdles at Down Royal.
The winner of last season’s Weatherbys Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival took his successful tally to six out of six – putting himself on course for the Grade One Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse next.
Envoi Allen led throughout and was fluent at his flights in the Tayto Group Maiden Hurdle under Davy Russell – landing odds of 1-4 with ease, by six and a half lengths, from Joseph O’Brien-trained pair Front View and Entoucas
Gordon Elliott and Cheveley Park Stud’s exciting five-year-old was adding a first hurdles win to four in bumpers last season, and his point-to-point debut.
Russell went straight to the front, but was content to lead the 17-runner field by little more than a length until an especially good jump two out took Envoi Allen clear – and he never had to come under pressure to stretch his advantage all the way to the line over an extended two miles.
Elliott was duly impressed, and said: “We think the world of him – we think he could be anything.
“He showed a lot of pace there today. He wouldn’t want to be stepping up in trip too much for the time being. He’s very, very good.
“He was clever – he got in close to one or two, but he learned plenty there.
“I’d imagine we would probably go to Fairyhouse now for the Royal Bond.”
Willie Mullins could look at the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury with Real Steel following his victory in the Daily Mirror Chase.
Sent off the 4-5 favourite on his seasonal return, Paul Townend’s mount ran out a 14-length scorer from Secret Investor.
Mullins said: “Paul was happy enough to sit in behind when he saw the pace they were going. His horse was first time out and he probably didn’t want to go and mix it that early at that pace.
“Paul said to me he slipped into the fence past the stands and he was very lucky to stay upright. After that he just settled into the race and jumped well, except for the third-last, and stayed on well.
“It’s nice for one of our first winter horses to come out and win like that, so it will give the yard a good bit of confidence.
“I’m hoping our horses will keep improving from their first run. Certainly I didn’t expect a performance like that. He should improve from that.
“He’s in the Ladbrokes, so we’ll see. I think Paul says he is happier going right-handed.”