'I may never buy another one like him' - Tattersalls panel preview Cheltenham
Tom Malone and Cormac Doyle among pundits online looking ahead to next week
All eyes will be on Envoi Allen as Cheveley Park's superstar bids to maintain his unbeaten record at Prestbury Park next week, with agent Tom Malone describing the son of Muhtathir as "different class" at the Tattersalls Cheltenham Festival preview online on Wednesday evening.
The seven-year-old, now trained by Henry de Bromhead following Gordon Elliott's suspension from training, won the 2019 Weatherbys Champion Bumper and last season's Ballymore Novices' Hurdle.
A £400,000 purchase by Malone from Colin Bowe at the 2018 Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham February Sale, Malone was initially interested in buying Appreciate It [third that day] only to find that horse 11 lengths adrift of the dominant winner.
He explained: "Ballinaboola is where it started. I'd bought a horse called Danny Kirwan who had won in Lisronagh by a furlong. I bought him off Pat Doyle, who said that this is such a good horse I bought his brother on the strength of it, and he is going to run in a four-year-old maiden at Ballinaboola in three weeks’ time.
"I got there [Ballinaboola] and Appreciate It was the horse I wanted to buy. He’s Danny Kirwan’s half-brother and I arrived to buy him that day, and Envoi Allen destroyed them."
He added: "The stupid thing I did that day was not take Appreciate It as well. It was a six-runner race; how am I going to convince myself that there were two Cheltenham horses in one six-runner four-year-old maiden?
"I was very happy to take Envoi Allen. I’ve stood in a lot of fields watching point-to-pointers and that was as impressive as I’ve ever seen. There were some lovely animals in that race.
"I got in touch with Cheveley Park Stud to ask if I could buy him for them. He went to the Tattersalls Cheltenham February Sale and the rest is history. He’s doing his job and I now need to find the next one.
"The one thing though you will never hear me say is I have found another Envoi Allen. I may never buy another one like him. He is different class."
Malone was also complimentary about Bravemansgame, by the lesser known French sire Brave Mansonnien and among the market leaders for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle on Wednesday.
The six-year-old, who was an impressive winner of the Challow Hurdle at Newbury over Christmas, bowled the agent over with his size and presence when selling at the Tattersalls Cheltenham Festival Sale in 2019.
He said: "He's 16.3hh and the most beautiful animal. He was by an unproven sire at the time in Brave Mansonnien, so it was an adequate pedigree without being flash.
"It was a fairly push the boat out moment, but I’ve made decisions like that at the Tattersalls Cheltenham Sale in the past, and they’ve worked in my favour. I always think if you’re not confident about the horse, you shouldn’t be buying it."
Monkfish, a £235,000 sale to Harold Kirk and Willie Mullins at Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham May Sale in 2018, was another to be held in the highest regard, this time by his point-to-point handler Cormac Doyle.
Doyle said of the imposing chestnut: "He was a very big horse but so light on his feet. He was probably the best mover at the sale. I thought he would have made a lot more.
"On the day he was probably knocked for height, everyone probably thought he was too big on the day, so it worked out well."
The seven-year-old, winner of last year's Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, is unbeaten in three starts over fences - including two Grade 1 events - and also won his second point for Doyle at Stowlin in April 2018.
Tattersalls’ first ever Cheltenham Festival preview was hosted by Sky Sports Racing’s Vanessa Ryle, top Irish amateur rider and ten-time Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey Jamie Codd, and Tattersalls Cheltenham’s Richard Pugh.
The trio were joined by 11-time champion trainer Paul Nicholls, leading bloodstock agents Anthony Bromley and Malone, top consignor Doyle from Monbeg Stables, and owner John Dance.