Gavin Cromwell believes Espoir D’Allen deserves a tilt at the Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham next week.
The five-year-old missed the spring Festivals last season, but has returned seemingly better than ever – winning each of his three starts this winter at Grade 3 level.
Cromwell fully acknowledges his stable faces a far sterner test at Prestbury Park next Tuesday, but is relishing the challenge.
He said: “We’re getting close, and tensions are building, but thankfully everything has gone good so far. He had a racecourse gallop after Navan on Saturday, and that went well.
“He’s kept improving. He doesn’t show us that much at home, but he keeps winning – and that’s a very important thing.
“It is a huge step, but I think he’s quite entitled to go there – and hopefully he can perform on the day.”
Espoir D’Allen is a best priced 20/1 for the Champion Hurdle – with fellow JP McManus-owned runner Buveur D’Air the narrow favourite as he bids for a third successive victory in the race.
“It’s looking like a very good Champion Hurdle – Buveur D’Air, Apple’s Jade and Laurina are all top-class horses,” Cromwell added.
“I think he (Espoir D'Allen) stays well, and the hill should play to his benefit – I don’t think the track is going to be a problem.
“It’s fantastic to have a runner in Cheltenham, especially in one of the championship races.
“It’s very exciting times for myself and everyone in the yard.”