Perfection from Envoi Allen - did you really expect anything less?
We did not learn anything new but it is not always about absorbing fresh information. There are rare occasions when you can still rejoice in something you already know, and the baroneracing.com Drinmore Novice Chase was one such occasion.
We knew Envoi Allen was exceptional, we did not need a tenth straight success in a four-runner event to tell us that. We knew from his flawless chasing debut at Down Royal that he could jump. We knew he was head and shoulders above this lot, his starting price told you that. Even the layers learned little – Betfair only clipped him into 15-8 from 2-1 for the Marsh Novices' Chase.
This, you see, was about so more more than finding out new things for the future. This was about taking pleasure in the present and, if you didn't enjoy watching Envoi Allen doing his thing, then jump racing is not your thing.
There was a brief moment, just after the second-last, when Assemble made the impossible look possible. It lasted about two strides. Normal service soon resumed thanks to one squeeze from Jack Kennedy which reminded us all of why we fell in love with Envoi Allen in the first place. Whoosh. He was gone.
There were eight and a half lengths between Envoi Allen and Assemble at the line, the furthest he has won any race by, and the scariest thing of all was Gordon Elliott telling us afterwards that there was lots more to come.
Elliott said: "The one thing Jack did say was that he was having a good blow afterwards, so I would say there is plenty of improvement to come from him. He hasn't gone deep here – Cheltenham is the plan."
The winning trainer, who would go on to complete a four-timer on the day, added: "A clear round is all you want and Jack said he was foot-perfect the whole way. He actually said that because the second-last was tricky for us last year [where Samcro fell] that he wanted to get him back on his hocks for it. They came up around him, but once he gave him a squeeze at the back of the second-last it was all over."
A Grade 3 novice chase over 2m4f at Punchestown on January 17 will be Envoi Allen's next outing and from there it will be on to the Marsh.
Elliott said: "We will probably skip Christmas and go to Punchestown in January for a race over two and a half miles.
"It was nerve-wracking watching him, but it is great to have a horse like this. I don't get nervous too often, but I get nervous watching this fellow."
One man who certainly wasn't nervous was Kennedy. The 21-year-old did not even flinch when Assemble emerged on his outside at the second-last.
"I wasn't worried," replied Kennedy when asked whether he was concerned the field were so close to him at that point. "I was going very steady, only hacking away. He has plenty of gears and I knew what he would do. He jumped great and did everything perfect."
Perfect indeed. We did not expect anything less.
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