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Rain to rule Elliott's Envoi Allen Cheltenham decision

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

08:21 6 Mar 2020

Gordon Elliott says the rain will dictate where star novice hurdler Envoi Allen runs at Cheltenham next week.

Envoi Allen is unbeaten in his seven starts under rules including winning at the festival when taking the Champion Bumper last year.

The Cheveley park owned gelding has been the ante-post favourite fro the Ballymore novice hurdle for most of the season, but connections have kept their options open by leaving him in the Supreme hurdle too.

Trainer Gordon Elliott has always said that were the ground to run very soft or even heavy he would drop the horse back down in trip for the Supreme.

Plans

However, those thoughts were not reflected in the ante-post prices until Thursday night when the Summerhill trainer confirmed his plans for the weekend at a Betfair Cheltenham preview evening.

"There is every possibility I'll switch him back to the Supreme Novice," said Elliott, speaking at a Betfair preview on Thursday evening,

"I've been speaking to (trainer) Olly Murphy over the last few days, he doesn't live that far from Cheltenham and he says it hasn't stopped raining. We got off the plane today at half one and from then until now it hasn't stopped raining. For me it is a big worry.

"I was planning to go over to Cheltenham on Sunday evening, but I'm going to go on Saturday evening now and walk the track on Sunday morning, specifically for him.

Elliott says he is wary of a slog at this stage of the horse's life: "I don't think soft ground will bother him, but just at this stage of his career, whether he wants a slog over two miles and five or not is the worry.

"I think two miles isn't a problem, he won the Royal Bond, he's seven from seven so far, but six out of seven were over two miles.

"He was close to being favourite for the Champion Hurdle, so he's not a slow horse. I will go for the race I think is best.

"The race I pinpointed for him was the Ballymore all season, I thought the ground would be beautiful, but it looks like being softer this year than normal, so I will do what I think is best for the horse, the owners and myself."

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Cheltenham Cheltenham Festival Envoi Allen Every Racing Moment Gordon Elliott Horseracing Racing

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