Friday, March 31st, 2023

Envoi Allen wins the Ryanair Chase in the third race of Day Three at the Cheltenham Festival 

By Marcus Townend for the Daily Mail

15:00 16 Mar 2023, updated 00:40 17 Mar 2023

The celestial scriptwriter penned the perfect script on day three of the Festival as Envoi Allen bounced back to win the Grade One Ryanair Chase.

He tailed off on his last run in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, but it was a return to form for a gelding who has struggled to live up to the huge reputation he carved when he won his first 12 races.

Normally, the post-race spotlight would have shone on Envoi Allen’s jockey Rachael Blackmore but this time it was firmly on trainer Henry de Bromhead.

Race six on the card, the Mares Novices’ Hurdle, was run in honour of his son Jack, the 13-year-old killed in a pony-racing accident in September.

Jack should have been standing alongside his dad proudly shouting Envoi Allen home. Instead, it was his sisters Mia and Georgia and mum Heather.

Rachael Blackmore and Envoi Allen won the Ryanair Chase in thrilling third day at Cheltenham
Envoi Allen jumped well throughout the Ryanair Chase before a late charge sealed the win


Day Three of the Cheltenham Festival, third race 

1 Envoi Allen (Rachael Blackmore) – 13-2

2 Shishkin (Nico de Boinville) – Evens (fav)

3 Hitman (Harry Cobden) – 22-1

Nine ran

There had been an outpouring of support for the De Bromheads when Honeysuckle won the Mares’ Hurdle on Tuesday. 

Many have marvelled at the resilience they have shown and once again, Thursday’s public theme was a celebration of the boy they lost.

After 13-2 shot Envoi Allen had beaten hot favourite Shishkin, Henry said: ‘The number of people who travelled over – friends and family – for Jack’s race is great. Everyone has looked after us.’

Gesturing to the crowd surrounding the winner’s enclosure, Henry added: ‘I’d say most of the people up there are my friends and family! Envoi Allen is a class horse.’

The image of the day, however, was not Envoi Allen winning. That came after Jack’s race won by the Gavin Sheehan-ridden, Jamie Snowden-trained 16-1 chance You Wear It Well when a group of Jack’s friend’s mounted the podium for the presentation alongside his family.

Blackmore has now won two races at the Cheltenham Festival in 2023 and is eager for more

Heather said: ‘There are 15 or 16 of them. All his best friends have come over. They were his gang. 

‘They come and see us every few weeks. They are incredible and great to his sisters.’

Some thought the scriptwriter got one thing wrong. Henry saddled five runners in the race including Magical Zoe who was a gallant second.

But Heather added: ‘Someone said to us, ‘We are sad you didn’t win’. But Jack would have thought that was the greatest cliche. He gave us our Grade One earlier and we’ll settle for that.’

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