Envoi Allen defies Abacadabra in Royal Bond duel as Elliott novices dominate

Gordon Elliott’s wealth of riches in the division was reaffirmed in spectacular style when Envoi Allen led home stable-mate Abacadabras in the Royal Bond Novice Hurdle but it might be a while yet before their respective long-term targets are established.

In justifying odds-on favouritism to stretch his unbeaten record on the track to six, the imposing son of Muhtathir had to cut out his own running under Davy Russell.

When Abacadabras emerged from the pack to challenge at the second-last flight, it looked as though we might have a real contest on our hands.

In a way, we did, but Envoi Allen skipped over the final flight and ultimately responded well for pressure to eventually prevail by a length-and-a-half with some authority. Darver Star kept on a few lengths further back to be third.

Elliott also has the exciting Andy Dufresne to factor into the equation, and the fact that each of the trio is owned by different connections might simplify the process of how to divide them up.

This talented five-year-old sports the colours of Cheveley Park Stud, who are getting decent value for the £400,000 that he set the operation back following his point-to-point win.

“They are two very good horses,” said Elliott of the first two home in this Grade 1, which he was winning for a second time.

“Abacadabras is a horse we like an awful lot and Envoi Allen I think is the real thing. If you look at all his races, in Leopardstown and Cheltenham as well, the one thing he does is he picks up. The one thing that would probably beat him would be a slow pace if we had to do all our own donkey work, but he is a good horse.

"I didn't want it to turn into a sprint and Davy stretched them. I was saying maybe we should have kicked on before the second last but that's why those lads ride the horses. He is a good horse. His jumping was class - very quick.”

Bookmakers duly slashed Envoi Allen’s odds at the head of the betting for the Sky Bet Supreme and Ballymore Novices’ Hurdles.

Paddy Power cut him from 4-1 to 2-1 for the Ballymore, while he is a fraction bigger for the Supreme, with Boylesports now offering 5-2 from 5-1 about him for that.

March is a long way off, though, and Elliott wouldn’t be drawn on long-term plans.

“He could step up in trip,” he responded when asked if Envoi Allen might be suited by further.

“I'll talk to Davy and the owners and we'll make our minds up what to do. He'll be entered at Christmas and in the Grade 1 at Naas in January and we'll see."

Russell, for his part, said: "He enjoyed going that bit quicker today. I was really long at the last and it would have been silly to just fire him at it.

"When it comes to going up in the trip, all those things tend to iron themselves out, especially for a horse like him. I felt that he needed to bring all his form to the table today, the second horse is obviously very good and the third is not bad either.

"It was a good solid performance."