Envoi Allen forced to work hard

Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase (Grade 1)

THE absence of Chacun Pour Soi afforded Envoi Allen a straight forward opportunity to get his season back on track and he took advantage of a gilt-edged opportunity to notch up another Grade 1 success but it was workmanlike stuff from the 2/5 favourite.

A stellar and seemingly invincible talent until last spring the Henry de Bromhead-trained Envoi Allen lined up with questions to answer after meeting with three defeats from his last four starts. In truth this three-runner affair never looked likely to provide the Cheveley Park Stud-owned gelding with his most exacting test but the question as to whether this horse can scale the heights that once looked likely will continue to linger on.

From an early stage of the race Sizing Pottsie began to struggle which left the Rachael Blackmore-ridden winner and Battleoverdoyen up front. On his first try at two miles since he won the 2019 Royal Bond, Envoi Allen produced a proficient round of jumping, as did Battleoverdoyen.

The pair were locked in combat from three out and there was a concern turning for home as Envoi Allen came under pressure to assert. As the last fence loomed though it was apparent that Battleoverdoyen had no more to give and the favourite went on to score by seven and a half lengths.

Later in the week, de Bromhead said: “I thought he was good and I was delighted with him. I thought he jumped so well at pace and he’s beaten a 155-rated horse who ran to his mark. He jumped brilliantly and they went a good pace – Sizing Pottsie often goes off at a wicked pace but he couldn’t lie up with the other two.

“He’s come out of the race very well and all options are open to him. I’d say we will put him in the Champion Chase and the Ryanair at Cheltenham and we’ll see what we’ll do nearer the time.”

He did have to work for this sixth Grade 1 success though and whatever direction he takes through the second half of the season is likely to present him with much sterner tests than the one he faced here.

“We had a bit of a scare turning in but he put his head down and galloped to the line. I think Henry was definitely right to step him back in trip and with Chacun Pour Soi being out it changed the dynamic of the race considerably but it was good for him to get his head back in front,” commented the winning rider.