Cheltenham Festival: Envoi Allen punishes Shishkin’s blunders to win Ryanair Chase for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore | Racing News
Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore’s fine Cheltenham Festival record continued on Thursday as Envoi Allen (13/2) made the most of a number of mistakes from favourite Shishkin to win the Ryanair Chase.
The pair combined to bring the house down on Tuesday as Honeysuckle bowed out with Mares’ Hurdle victory and were reliant on another Festival favourite in 2019 and 2020 winner Envoi Allen.
Much of the pre-race build-up focussed on Nicky Henderson’s even-money favourite Shishkin, but the exuberant jumping that had seen him roar to Ascot Chase glory eluded Nico de Boinville’s mount on this occasion.
A number of errors, including a shuddering blunder at the third last, put the favourite on the back foot.
Envoi Allen, too, was far from fluent at the same fence but rallied well under Blackmore to run out a winner by just under three lengths.
Shishkin, to his credit, stayed on for second, ahead of the Paul Nicholls-trained Hitman and Mouse Morris’ French Dynamite.
De Bromhead said: “It’s great for the Thompsons (Cheveley Park Stud) as they are great supporters of ours and the industry. It’s just brilliant.
“I kept saying to Richard (Thompson) that he is as good as he was before he went to Kempton, I was so happy with him before the King George, we really fancied him, but like a few of ours who went to England in the first half of the season, he just never showed up. A Plus Tard (Betfair Chase) and Arctic Bresil (Ladbrokes Trophy) just never ran their races.
“Nothing came to light, A Plus Tard had obvious reasons but not the other two. They were all beaten after four fences. I thought it might have been water and various other bits but anyway we left no stone and whatever we did seems to be working again.
“I was really happy the whole race, but there was a chance he was doing too much. He was jumping so well. Rachael felt early on he might have been doing too much, but then he settled. He’s a class horse. Everyone was delighted with him and I was hoping he would put his best foot forward and he did.”
Blackmore said: “He travelled and jumped really well today. I thought early on he was in my hands for quite a while – it just took me a while to settle him – but then he switched off going past the stands and he was lovely then, he was lobbing away and I was able to fill him up three out.
“He put in a phenomenal performance, but I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone – he’s a supremely talented horse and it’s fantastic that Henry got the day out of him today.
“Ryanair are so kind to name their mares’ novices’ hurdle after Jack (who tragically died in a pony racing accident), such a kind gesture by them, so it is great to be able to win their race today.
“I actually got a nice clear passage – I didn’t find problems anywhere.”