Bumper stars Envoi Allen and Abacadabras set for mouthwatering Royal Bond clash
Envoi has won the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival
Saturday, November 30, 2019
The exciting Envoi Allen puts his unbeaten record on the line when he takes on eight rivals in the Grade 1 Royal Bond, writes Tony O'Hehir.
A four-time bumper winner, whose victories included the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival, Envoi Allen created a big impression when scoring by six-and-a half lengths on his hurdling debut at Down Royal.
The form was boosted when runner-up Front View went on to win at Cork, and trainer Gordon Elliott said: "Envoi Allen is in good form. He'll probably be better when he goes up in trip later on but I couldn't be happier with him."
Joining Envoi Allen in the line-up is stablemate Abacadabras, winner of both his starts over hurdles and described by Elliott as "a speedy horse".
Joseph O'Brien is also doubly-represented with Gigginstown pair Midnight Run and Embittered set to try their luck at the top level after ready last-time-out victories.
O'Brien said: "Both of them were decent bumper horses and have won their maiden hurdles well. It looks a very good renewal of the race but they are in good shape and, hopefully, they'll go well."
Midnight Run, the winner of two bumpers and the mount of Rachael Blackmore, was a wide-margin scorer on his hurdling debut at Cork two weeks ago and is considered the main danger to Elliott's pair.
Soviet Pimpernel, who finished second behind Quel Destin at Cheltenham in October after successes at Listowel and Gowran, is one of just two four-year-olds in the line-up. Runners from that age group have won ten renewals.
With eight victories to his name, Willie Mullins has the best record in the race and looks to increase his tally.
He is represented by Foveros, winner of three of his four starts over hurdles, and dual hurdles winner Fast Buck, who is fitted with a tongue-tie for the first time.
The Gavin Cromwell-trained seven-year-old Darver Star is five from ten over hurdles and is unbeaten in four attempts this season.
Beaten just once in four attempts over hurdles and a Grade 3 winner at Tipperary on his most recent start in October, Turnpike Trip represents Charles Byrnes.
It looks a very good renewal of the race but they are in good shape
- Joseph O'Brien