Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore’s excellent record at the Cheltenham Festival continued on Thursday when Envoi Allen (13/2) made the most of a series of mistakes by favorite Shishkin to win the Ryanair Chase.
The pair combined to bring the house down on Tuesday as Honeysuckle retired with Mares’ victory in the Hurdle and was riding on another 2019 Festival favorite and 2020 winner, Envoi Allen.
Much of the pre-race buildup focused on Nicky Henderson’s favorite Shishkin, but the exuberant leaps that had seen him roar to Ascot Chase glory eluded Nico de Boinville’s mount on this occasion.
A series of errors, including a blunder in the penultimate, put the favorite at a disadvantage.
Envoi Allen was also far from fluent over the same fence, but rallied well under Blackmore to run off a winner by just under three lengths.
Shishkin, to his credit, came in second, ahead of the Paul Nicholls-trained Hitman and Mouse Morris’s French Dynamite.
Of Bromhead he said, “It’s great for the Thompsons (Cheveley Park Stud) as they are huge supporters of us and the industry. It’s just brilliant.”
“I kept telling Richard (Thompson) he’s as good as he was before he went to Kempton, I was so happy with him before King George, we really liked him, but like some of our people who went to England in the first half of the season , just never appeared A Plus Tard (Betfair Chase) and Arctic Bresil (Ladbrokes Trophy) just never ran their races.
“Nothing came to light, A Plus Tard had obvious reasons but not the other two. They were all beaten after four hurdles. working again.
“I was very happy throughout the race, but there was a chance he was doing too much. He was jumping very well. Rachael felt early on that he might have been doing too much, but then he calmed down. He’s a class horse. Everyone was delighted with him and expected him to give his best and he did.
Blackmore said: “Today he traveled and jumped very well. At first I thought he was in my hands for quite a while, it just took me a while to calm him down, but then he died down going through the stands and he was lovely then.” , I was throwing far and I was able to fill it with three outs.
“He put in a phenomenal performance, but I don’t think it came as a surprise to anyone – he’s an extremely talented horse and it’s great that Henry got the day out of him today.”
“Ryanair are kind enough to name their mares’ novice hurdle after Jack (who tragically died in a pony racing accident), such a kind gesture on his part, so it’s great to be able to win his race today.
“In fact, I got a good clear passage, I did not find problems anywhere.”