IN February 2018, the sale ring at Cheltenham played host to a number of spectacular sales of point-to-point winners. One of them was Envoi Allen (Muhtathir), handled by Colin Bowe for Walter Connors, and he sold to Tom Malone for £400,000. The then four-year-old gelding won a point-to-point on his debut at Ballinaboola by an eye-catching 10 lengths.

After the sale the agent revealed that he had been purchased for David and Patricia Thompson of Cheveley Park Stud, and was being sent for training in Ireland by Gordon Elliott. Malone was hugely enthusiastic about the gelding, saying: “I loved him. I saw him privately in the yard and I was there standing in the field when he won his point-to-point effortlessly.” The agent’s assessment of the bay was spot on.

Envoi Allen ran four times in bumpers, winning them all, and his sequence took in the appropriately-named Listed Future Champions Flat Race at Navan, the Grade 2 Matheson INH Flat Race at Leopardstown, and then he capped his career on the level with victory in the Grade 1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.

7 up

The best was yet to come however, and the eight-year-old, now with Henry de Bromhead, keeps on giving. His latest Grade 1 win, in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal at the weekend, was his sixth over fences, adding to four victories over the smaller obstacles. It is also his seventh Grade 1 success in all, and this win took his earnings past his purchase price for the first time. His performance on Saturday would suggest that there is more to look forward to.

Envoi Allen was bred by Bruno Vagne, a former IT technician turned farmer from Clermont-Ferrand. On his 420 acres in Souvigny, close to Moulins, he has a superb collection of AQPS mares, and the Vagne family has been breeding successfully for some four generations.

Vagne’s broodmare band descends from three different AQPS families, one of which was responsible for First Gold. However, the most established of the families is that which has produced the current star Envoi Allen, and it is a family that has been good to the Vagne family for many decades now. Members of this particular female line have enjoyed great success in France, England and Ireland.

Envoi Allen is the first foal from his dam Reaction (Saint Des Saints) who won twice over jumps in her native country. He is followed by Fighter Allen (Vision D’Etat) and he won a bumper in France as a four-year-old on his debut, and is a winner over hurdles and fences in Ireland and been graded-placed. He actually ran in Down Royal on Saturday.

Three winners with her first four foals is a very positive start at stud for Reaction, as the pair already mention have been joined on the winners’ roster by the four-year-old filly Impulsion Allen (Fly With Me), successful over jumps in France this year. Reaction’s fifth produce is a three-year-old full-brother to Envoi Allen, named Joyau Allen (Muhtathir).

Une Epoque

Reaction is one of six winners from her dam Hesmeralda (Royal Charter) and these came from just seven foals. Hesmeralda won nine times over jumps in France and just two of her offspring were fillies.

The other was Une Epoque (Dom Alco) who won the Grade 3 Prix Sytaj Mares Chase at Auteuil and is now among the broodmare band at Bruno Vagne’s.

Her first foal, Gladiateur Allen (Saint Des Saints) is a winner over hurdles and fences and was graded-placed over hurdles.

We are very familiar with a couple of Hesmeralda’s other winners. Auvergnat (Della Francesca) won the Grade 2 Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown, while Eldorado Allen (Khalkevi) is a multiple Grade 2 winner over fences and runner-up in the Grade 1 Arkle Chase at Cheltenham.

Go back another generation, to Envoi Allen’s third dam Violeta (Rhapsodien), and up pops another Cheltenham Festival winner, the ill-fated Espoir D’Allen (Voix Du Nord). This most talented of runners won the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle for JP McManus and Gavin Cromwell, but sadly died following a freak accident at his trainer’s stables.

Espoir D’Allen too can claim Violeta as his third dam, and so also can Grade 3 hurdle winner Icare Allen (Cokoriko).

Better record

Violeta bred 10 winners, and this bettered the record of her dam Dalila (Vieux Chateau) who had seven winning offspring. One of these, Tarsky (Fereed), was a multiple winner in France before moving to the USA where his best effort came when he was runner-up in the 1994 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup. His half-sister Herinie (Or De Chine) is the grandam of Eudipe (Useful) who won listed chases in England and France and was runner-up in the Grade 1 Royal SunAlliance Novices’ Chase.

This is also the female family of Grade 1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle winner Gelino Bello (Saint Des Saints).

Envoi Allen’s sire Muhtathir (Elmaamul), which is Arabic for treaty, was a Group 1 winner at four and five, in France and Italy, was also runner-up in the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains-French 2000 Guineas at three. His five Group 1 winners on the flat are Mille Et Mille, Indonesienne, Doctor Dino (three times), Mauralakana and Satwa Queen.

Envoi Allen is his outstanding National Hunt performer.