Espoir D'Allen ruled out of Triumph Hurdle after Leopardstown flop
Espoir D'Allen, one-time ante-post favourite for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, will not run at next month's Cheltenham Festival after trainer Gavin Cromwell revealed that the four-year-old "wasn't quite himself" following his heavy defeat at Leopardstown this month.
Espoir D'Allen surrendered his unbeaten record in tame fashion when trailing in 23 lengths behind Mr Adjudicator in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle.
Cromwell remains hopeful Espoir D'Allen will be ready in time for the spring festivals at Fairyhouse and Punchestown. He said: "He was very keen at Leopardstown and he just emptied himself there. He wasn't quite himself after the race and we have decided to give Cheltenham a miss for this season.
"He is having a little break now and Cheltenham just comes a little too soon. We don't want to rush him. He remains a lovely horse for the future."
Espoir D'Allen had been a top-priced 25-1 for the Triumph Hurdle before news emerged he would miss the race. Apple's Shakira, who like Espoir D'Allen is owned by JP McManus, is the 3-1 favourite.
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