The team at Cheveley Park Stud have reflected on another successful Cheltenham Festival after enjoying a double at the showpiece meeting for the second year in succession.
The leading owners have been seen claiming victory in some of the biggest races on the Flat since the early 1990s – with greats such as Medicean, Pivotal and Russian Rhythm among those to have carried the easily identifiable red, white and blue colours.
The stud then branched out in the National Hunt arena – and made an immediate impact on the sport’s biggest stage, with Envoi Allen landing the Champion Bumper and A Plus Tard bolting up in handicap company from just five runners over the four days at last year’s Festival.
Another small but select squad of four Cheveley Park-owned runners lined up in the Cotswolds last week – and managing director Chris Richardson hailed two winners and two third-placed finishers as an excellent return.
He said: “It was a special couple of days, and it was great for Mrs Thompson (Cheveley Park owner) that she was there to see it.
“We were very fortunate to have two winners there last year, and to have another two last week was fantastic.
“People try very hard just to have runners at Cheltenham, so for us to have 18 National Hunt horses in training and have four winners in two years is ridiculous really.
“All the credit goes to the horses and the trainers and their staff for preparing them so well.”
Envoi Allen was widely considered one of the bankers of this year’s Festival in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle – and confirmed his status as the budding superstar of the sport by extending his unbeaten record to eight with an authoritative display.
Whether he will head down the Champion Hurdle route next season, or pursue a career over fences, is a decision for another day.
“We were obviously delighted with him,” said Richardson.
“I actually didn’t think he was going quite as easily as he was during his previous races, but he put it to bed fairly quickly in the end – he’s a great horse.
“I think the plan would be to go to the Punchestown if it’s on, but who knows where we’ll be by then with the coronavirus situation?
“He is only six, and we’ll have a chat about next season during the summer. Hopefully everyone has a lot to look forward to.”
Envoi Allen was the first of two winners on the second day of the Festival for Cheveley Park, with Ferny Hollow finishing with a flourish to claim top honours in the Champion Bumper – and defeating his better-fancied Willie Mullins stable companion Appreciate It.
Richardson said: “That was another great race – and interestingly, he’s actually rated higher than Envoi Allen was after he won the same race last season.
“He (Ferny Hollow) hasn’t got the same mind as Envoi Allen, but he showed his class and asserted to win well in the end.
“Hopefully he’ll be an exciting novice hurdler next season.”
Cheveley Park’s other two runners were Allaho, third in an RSA Chase that will live long in the memory following the extraordinary late lunge of Champ, and A Plus Tard – who occupied the same finishing position as favourite for the Ryanair Chase.
Richardson added: “Allaho ran respectably. He just runs a bit keen, so we might be thinking about dropping back in trip – I think that’s something that is certainly open to review.
“A Plus Tard just wasn’t on his game, for whatever reason. Again, he wasn’t disgraced, but Henry (de Bromhead) was very disappointed afterwards – and Rachael (Blackmore) said he was never going as well in his previous races and just didn’t feel in top form.
“Nothing has come to light, so we’ll just move on. Again, whether any of these horses will be able to run at Punchestown, we’ll have to wait and see.”