Envoi Allen easily extended his unbeaten record with an 11th successive victory under rules after his chief market rival Asterion Forlonge fell at the first fence in the Sky Bet Killiney Novice Chase at Punchestown on Sunday.
Gordon Elliott’s dual Cheltenham Festival winner was expected to face a telling test in the Grade 3 over two and a half miles, in which he had to give 11lb to his four rivals on heavy ground.
But that situation never materialised after Willie Mullins’ grey got in close when leading and fell for the second race in a row, bringing down outsider Sempo in the process.
Jack Kennedy and Envoi Allen subsequently led throughout – and although challenged by Joseph O’Brien’s Fils D’oudairies three out and again at the last, the 1/2 favourite eased clear again on the run-in to win by three and a half lengths from the 25/1 shot.
Elliott said: "It’s a bit of an anti climax when the other horse went at the first. Jack said he went around in second gear with his ears pricked.
“When he asked him to quicken going to the last he did. He got a bit under the last and he quickened again.
“He didn’t mind the ground and he didn’t do anything wrong. I think he’d be better with a lead as he’s idle but he had to do his own donkey work.
??? "We'll have to up his work a little bit, before Cheltenham"@gelliott_racing and @jackkennedy15 still think there is plenty of improvement in Envoi Allen - he'll go straight to @CheltenhamRaces, all being well. pic.twitter.com/llirbzfD77— Racing TV (@RacingTV) January 17, 2021
“He’s in everything at Leopardstown for fear something happened (with travelling) in Cheltenham but I’d say we will go straight to Cheltenham. He’s been to Cheltenham twice and showed he can win around it.”
Envoi Allen's jockey Jack Kennedy added “the loose horses had my heart in my mouth a few times. They crossed over me but Envoi Allen is so honest he never took his eye off the fence. He’s unbelievable and a very clever horse.
??? "He's unbelievable"@jackkennedy15 is full of praise for Envoi Allen - following his impressive victory in the opener @punchestownrace.— Racing TV (@RacingTV) January 17, 2021
does @gelliott_racing and @CPStudOfficial have a certain @CheltenhamRaces Festival winner? #EnvoiAllen pic.twitter.com/ZJFBpNYjgk
“He only really does what he has to do. He was very idle the whole way around in front but as soon as I sat into the saddle he put the race to bed.”