Envoi Stokes His Class in Champion Chase

November 6, 2022

Envoi Allen (right) on his way to victory in the Champion Chase (JTW Equine Images)

By Tom Williams

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.

The old saying goes aplenty, and there were cheers of the same kind that roared around the County Down skyline. 

The reason for those was the triumphant return of a horse who had at one point been seen with the world at his feet, but had struggled for recent seasons, coming back at a mere shadow of his previous imperious self.

However, Envoi Allen proved that the fire still burns within as he wore down long time leader Kemboy up the final furlong of the 3 mile contest, the step up in trip proving to be the catalyst for the extra improvement, and the upturn in form.

His previous season was somewhat full of pathetic fallacy, with elation on a return victory 12 months ago at Down Royal subsiding to dismay after a below par effort in the John Durkan at Punchestown when sent off favourite. 

A victory over an inefficient 2 miles at Leopardstown and two third place finishes behind Energumene left the connections in doubt over what the horse actually wanted, and if he could ever regain the heights he was held in for so long. 

Given the concern showed, and the length of the doldrums he had been in for a while, he showed that the fire still burns bright within, and that his sparkle of class remains potent on the right occasion. 

It also banished painful memories of the gelding’s only try over 3 miles previously, where he pulled up lame to Colreevy at Punchestown, a chip of bone needing to be removed subsequently.

The flashy nature of the gelding was what was missing, having been seen aplenty during his novice status over both hurdles and fences. Yet, it was the manner in which he rallied bravely to deny the ever-plucky Kemboy that will have won the hearts of many fans today. 

Despite winning jockey Rachael Blackmore stating that “he did not jump as well as he normally ( does )”, he still managed to grind away at the opposition that contained a high-quality stayer in Galvin, who had also obtained a fitness advantage after his success at Punchestown last month.

It need not have mattered as he mastered the rival coming towards 3 out and made stealthy progress behind Conflated and Kemboy, sweeping out from behind the former to take closer order at two out.

He landed somewhat awkwardly however, which sent him almost into the car park. Nevertheless, he stoked the coals of the fire within and joined Kemboy at the last, maintaining a ferocious gallop that wore away at his opposition and sent the crowd at Down Royal into rapture and rhapsody.

Envoi Allen, winner! (JTW Equine Images)

Down Royal seems to be his happy hunting ground, where 4 runs at the course have resulted in three wins over fences and one over hurdles. 

If confidence was what he needed, he now appears to have it in swathes. And confident too are the bookmakers, who have cut him to between 16/1 and 25/1 for the King George, however the owners Cheveley Park Stud could be tempted to send Allaho there instead.

The winner has also been given quotes around 16/1 for the 2023 Ryanair Chase and 25/1 for the Gold Cup at the Festival after his success at Down Royal. However, Robbie Power (representing trainer Henry De Bromhead on the day) said of the winner that connections will “get him home and see how he is, and make plans after that”.

“Henry had him ripe for today”, he added later. “He was in proper order!”

Rachael was equally flowing with praise, but also noted a few tendencies during the race, most notably the fact he was not as fluent as normal. 

“He didn’t jump as well as he can, but he was there when I needed him!”

“He really relaxed today and saw the trip out well. It was very promising”.

“He can come on and off the bridle very quickly, and you cannot light him up too early, so I just tried to keep him switched off.”

Winning jockey Rachael Blackmore with the Champions Chase trophy (JTW Equine Images)

“It was great to get his head back in from today, and it’s a fantastic performance by Henry to get him back to the horse he is. He is an incredible horse, he just has so much ability”.

Envoi Allen had always threatened to deliver a big prize on the scale of a Champion Chase. And it may well be that he is now back on track to do as such again. 

The buzz about him is well and truly back.

It must be great being Cheveley Park Stud, with all this firepower and potential at their bidding. Who knows the limit that this horse will go to?

We thought we did. 

Clearly, Envoi Allen thought differently.

@Jonathanstettin Very well written article. The sport will be missed by many...The time is now

Kirkrobinson @OaklawnLover View testimonials

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