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'Of course there's extra pressure' - De Bromhead looks forward with Envoi Allen

Envoi Allen: the superstar remains on course for the Marsh Novices' Chase
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Henry de Bromhead has admitted to feeling a greater weight of expectation ahead of the Cheltenham Festival after the arrival of five Cheveley Park-owned horses, including superstar Envoi Allen. 

The Marsh Novices' Chase favourite, who is unbeaten in 11 starts under rules, was one of eight horses Cheveley Park opted to remove from Gordon Elliott's care on Tuesday after a picture emerged on social media of him sitting on a dead horse on his gallops. 

Of the five to join De Bromhead, three have major festival targets on their agenda including Envoi Allen, with Quilixios prominent in the market for the JCB Triumph Hurdle and Ballyadam earmarked for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

De Bromhead said: "Of course you would feel a bit [of extra pressure], but you’re just trying to do it as best you can and get them there as best you can.

Quilixios: prominent in Triumph Hurdle betting

"It's obviously not the circumstances you like to get horses but these are the types everyone’s trying to get. If we can do as good a job as Gordon has done with them, we’ll be delighted.

"The three that are entered for Cheltenham include Envoi Allen and he seems great. He’s a gorgeous horse and we feel very fortunate that Cheveley Park have sent him to us."

The arrivals of Envoi Allen, Ballyadam and Quilixios bolster an already strong festival squad for De Bromhead, which also includes two legitimate Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders.

Both A Plus Tard and Minella Indo boast festival-winning form and are towards the head of the Gold Cup market, with the former the 5-1 joint-second favourite along with Champ.

A Plus Tard has not been seen since winning the Grade 1 Savills Chase in December under Darragh O'Keefe and is set to resume his partnership with regular rider Rachael Blackmore at Cheltenham.

The trainer said: "A Plus Tard was really good in the Savills Chase at Christmas. I'm delighted with him. He had a hard enough race there, so we decided to put him away for this.

"There aren’t many horses who can win a Grade 1 over two miles and be in the Gold Cup picture – Kauto Star would be one.

A Plus Tard: leading Gold Cup contender

"He stayed very well at Leopardstown and looked like he needed every inch of it and so hopefully it will all go well for him. It’s going to be a cracking race and very competitive as you would expect."

Minella Indo started the season in excellent form with two easy successes but has since disappointed when sent off favourite for both the Savills Chase and last month's Irish Gold Cup. 

The eight-year-old, a general 12-1 shot for the Gold Cup, will be ridden by Jack Kennedy at Cheltenham and De Bromhead believes last year's RSA runner-up is ready to return to his best.

"Minella Indo is in mighty form now and loves Cheltenham – he comes alive over there and his record is brilliant," De Bromhead said. "He has a real live chance.

"Our plan was to be busy with him up to Christmas because we thought he lacked experience. Then we went to the Savills with him and it was disappointing he fell.

Henry de Bromhead on Honeysuckle: "We are happy to go for the Champion Hurdle with her"

"It wasn’t the plan to run him again before the Gold Cup but we couldn’t go off the back of a fall, so looking at all our options we plumped for the Irish Gold Cup and I thought he ran respectably."

De Bromhead added Kennedy is set to ride Envoi Allen, Quilixios and Ballyadam if he is available.

The trainer confirmed star mare Honeysuckle will head to the Champion Hurdle, for which she is the general 5-2 favourite, rather than defend the Mares' Hurdle crown she won 12 months ago. 

Unbeaten in ten starts, Honeysuckle was last seen running out a ten-length winner of the Irish Champion Hurdle and De Bromhead said: "She's going for the Champion Hurdle.

"That's the plan, she seems in good form and all is good. We were delighted with her at Leopardstown last month. She looks very effective over any trip really.

"All the judges say her last day was her best performance so far. She looks very good over any trip from two to two and a half. She's an amazing mare and we feel very lucky to have her."


If you want more on the Cheltenham Festival . . .

Cheltenham Festival 2021: essential information for jump racing's biggest week

'He's extraordinary' – Nicky Henderson thrilled with Champ ahead of Gold Cup bid

Willie Mullins: 'Two years ago I'd given up on the dream of winning a Gold Cup'

Saint Roi out of Champion Hurdle with new French recruit waiting in the wings

'There was no resisting the irresistible force' – three epic races from 2020

Four big-priced Cheltenham outsiders including one who 'need not fear the hill'

ITV to show six Cheltenham Festival races live each day for the first time


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She’s an amazing mare and we feel very lucky to have her
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