Connections of Envoi Allen are not ruling out a tilt at the Unibet Champion Hurdle following his latest triumph at Naas.
Last season’s Champion Bumper hero has made a seamless transition to the jumping game this term – impressing on his hurdling debut at Down Royal before landing back-to-back Grade Ones in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse and the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle.
The six-year-old is a best-priced 13-8 with Sky Bet for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, while he is available at 7-1 for the curtain-raising Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – should the camp decide to come back in trip.
The third option for Envoi Allen is to step out of novice company into what appears a wide-open renewal of the Champion Hurdle, for which he can be backed at 16-1 – and Chris Richardson, managing director of owners Cheveley Park Stud, admits all options will be considered.
Richardson said on Monday: “It was fantastic to see him win again, and Gordon tells me he is absolutely fine this morning – which is great.
“Whether he’ll run again (before Cheltenham) is debatable. We’ll be guided by the horse, but Cheltenham is obviously the big target.
“I’d imagine he’ll be entered in a few races (at Cheltenham), including the Champion Hurdle. We’ll see how the horse is and discuss things with Gordon and his team and Mr and Mrs Thompson nearer the time.
“We’ll assess all the options. The sensible thing would be to stay against novices, but we’ll let the horse do the talking.”
Envoi Allen proved a step up to two and a half miles was no barrier to success in beating the Willie Mullins-trained Elixir D’ainay by three and a half lengths on Sunday – and Richardson admitted to being taken aback by the reception he received from racegoers.
He added: “I thought he jumped very well, and it was a proper race – I think the first and second are both very good horses.
“He (Envoi Allen) seems to be the ultimate professional. He’s a big horse, who I would hope can still strength up further in time. I hope he’ll be around for a good few years.
“The crowd at Naas was fantastic, and the reception he got when he returned to the winner’s enclosure was exceptional.
“It’s a bit like Enable and Stradivarius on the Flat – these horses build up a great following, and it’s very exciting to be involved with one like him in National Hunt circles.”