Envoi Allen bounces back to his best in Down Royal feature
Envoi Allen bounced back to his brilliant best, as he maintained his 100 percent record at Down Royal in the Grade 1 Ladbrokes Champion Chase.
After winning his first 12, the son of Muhtathir lost his unbeaten record at Cheltenham in 2021 and had been in and out of form ever since.
Campaigned from two-miles to two-and-a-half last year, the Henry de Bromhead-trained eight-year-old was upped to three this afternoon for just the second time in his career.
Available at 8/1 in early shows, the Cheveley Park owned bay came in for plenty of market support and was eventually sent off a 7/2 chance.
Racing mainly in fourth under Rachael Blackmore, he wasn't fluent at the seventh, travelling best and taking closer order from three out.
He jumped the next in a share of the lead and soon lugged to his left. Ridden on the run-in, he had a good scrap with Kemboy keeping on best in the closing stages to beat that rival by a length-and-three-parts.
The disappointment of the race was Galvin (5/6f), as he finished a well-beaten fourth.
Robbie Power, representing de Bromhead and Cheveley Park Stud, said: "It was brilliant. We always thought stepping up in trip would suit him. He only ran once before over three miles and that was at the end of a season.
"He didn't jump brilliant early on, he took a while to warm up to his jumping but, when Rachael wanted him later on, he was there for her.
"That opens up options for us now that he stays three miles. You'd have to think down that line (Gold Cup) anyway, he's in the King George.
"We'll get him home and see how he is after that and decide after that.
"He has maintained his unbeaten record around here. It was fantastic and Henry had him cherry ripe for today. He was in proper order."
Blackmore added: "He didn't jump half as well as he can to be honest, but he was there when I needed him. He is a horse with so much talent as everyone knows. It was great that he got his head back in front here today.
"Going out Puppy (Robbie Power) reminded me that he is unbeaten at Down Royal so there was no pressure!
"He is an incredible horse. He has got so much ability and just getting it out of him is the thing I suppose.
"It's fantastic to win this race but we are all thinking about Jack (de Bromhead) on a day like today.
"He is a funny horse. He would be lovely and relaxed and then lock on with you. I was trying to keep him switched off. We were probably getting into it a bit sooner than I wanted but he switched off again turning in.
"As I said he didn't jump as well today as he can, for whatever reason, but he was able to get the job done.
"Henry has done a brilliant job with him for today and it's great to win in these colours as well. They've provided me with a lot of good days and it's fantastic to ride a really big winner on this lad."
On Galvin, Gordon Elliott said: "It just didn't happen for him today, the writing was on the wall down the back.
"Look no taking away from Envoi Allen, he's a superstar."
Paddy Power go 14/1 (from 25s) about Envoi Allen for the King George at Kempton on St Stephen's Day.
D.N. Russell, rider of Galvin, trained by Gordon Elliott, reported to the Stewards' Secretaries that his mount never travelled during this race.
P. Townend, rider of Kemboy (FR) trained by W.P. Mullins, reported to the Clerk of the Scales that his mount slipped a couple of times in the early part of the race.
The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board Veterinary Officer examined Galvin, trained by Gordon Elliott, at the request of the Stewards and reported the animal to be post race normal.