With every win, Envoi Allen’s stock rises even higher. He has been trainer Gordon Elliott’s pride and joy over the last couple of years, sweeping aside all competition with singular quality and grace, and it’s no surprise that he is being backed heavily for the Cheltenham Festival in the Cheltenham odds from Betfair Exchange.
Envoi Allen’s latest triumph in the Killiney Novices’ Chase at Punchestown was further proof, if it was needed, that the seven-year-old is destined for great things. It was a comfortable victory in the end, with Envoi Allen, ridden by Jack Kennedy, finishing three and a half lengths clear of second-placed Fils D’oudairies, and did well to avoid the distractions of loose horses that had unseated their riders.
“I had my heart in my mouth a few times,” Kennedy said afterwards. “He’s so honest. They (the two loose horses) crossed over me at one of the fences down the back but he never took his eye off the fence. He’s unbelievable. A lot of horses would’ve gone down and taken their eye off, or maybe galloped into it, but he got underneath it and never touched a twig. He was extremely quick away from the back of it too. He’s a very clever horse,” Kennedy reported.
Now, Cheltenham is looming large on the horizon, and the fine performances of Elliott’s unbeaten treasure have him being talked up as favourite for the Marsh Novices’ Chase at this year’s Festival, and it’s no surprise given the dominance he has shown in recent races.
Of course, Envoi Allen is no stranger to success at the Cheltenham Festival. In 2019, he lived up to his status as favourite for the Grade 1 Champion Bumper, emerging the winner by a narrow three quarters of a length over Blue Sari. That was a signal of just how bright a future Envoi Allen had, and he’s certainly lived up to expectations since then.
Last year’s Cheltenham Festival brought further success, with Envoi Allen romping home in the Ballymore Novices’ Chase, streaking clear to beat the ironically named Easywork by over four lengths. It was a fine moment for Elliott in a Festival where he excelled, recording seven winners in total, only just missing out on the Leading Trainer accolade by way of placings, with Willie Mullins pipping him to the post.
The aim for Elliott now will be for further Cheltenham success, and Envoi Allen will play a huge part in that. His form since Cheltenham last year has been exemplary, with victories in the Beginners Chase at Down Royal and in the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse, before this latest win at Punchestown preserved his unbeaten record, and made him a vital pick in the Cheltenham best tips.
There is plenty to look forward to in the years to come from Envoi Allen. If he can record a third straight victory at the Cheltenham Festival this year, he’ll be poised to perhaps take on one of the more high-profile races in the coming years. As Envoi Allen continues to win races for fun, we could be witnessing the early strides of a future legend.