Ruby Walsh: Envoi Allen v Monkfish is a dream match-up at Punchestown Festival

Ruby can’t wait for this one

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*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing/Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason, you will lose your stake under traditional antepost rules

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Ruby Walsh is getting excited about the prospect of Envoi Allen going up against Monkfish at the Punchestown Festival later this month.

The pair are two of the most promising novice chasers in Ireland, although Envoi Allen lost his unbeaten record when falling at the Cheltenham Festival last time out.

Monkfish had a more successful trip to Prestbury Park, claiming a comfortable victory in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, and the Willie Mullins-trained charger is favourite for the upcoming Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase [Tuesday, April 27 – 18.30].

Speaking on the latest episode of Paddy Power’s From The Horse’s Mouth podcast, Ruby said: “The long and short of it for Envoi Allen at Cheltenham was that he got buzzy before the start and he fell. It happens, things go wrong and it doesn’t always go to plan.

“But I think we could have a cracking contest here. You will have a good supporting cast to the big two of Envoi Allen and Monkfish, because Colreevy will probably have to come here too. Chatham Street Lad could after winning at Limerick, while Janidil won over 2½m at Fairyhouse and he may well step up to this 3m trip.

“Envoi Allen vs Monkfish over 3m… I could see Monkfish at 3¼m in a Gold Cup giving it to Envoi Allen, but I don’t know about 3m at Punchestown. It’s going to be a hell of a horse race.

“There are times in life where you just don’t have to have a bet – you can sit back and watch, and I think this is one of those races! This is the dream match-up of novice chasers this season and I think it will be fantastic.

“I will be shouting for Monkfish, there’s no doubt about that.”

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Monkfish has won all four of his races over 3m, while Envoi Allen is yet to race over a longer trip than 2m5f and faces a tough task to step up.

Paddy trader Frank Hickey believes this gives Monkfish a distinct advantage, but he is still siding with Henry de Bromhead’s seven-year-old.

“This was a very difficult race to price,” said Frank.

Monkfish deserves to be favourite because he is proven at the trip and he won at the Cheltenham Festival, while Envoi Allen had fallen.

“The latter is unproven at 3m, bar winning his point-to-point. However, I think Envoi Allen will beat Monkfish.

“I just can’t wait – it’s going to be so good, and it’s not like it’s just the two of them. Chatham Street Lad was very good at Limerick, albeit it wasn’t the strongest of races. Espoir De Romay is entered, but whether he will run after that fall at Aintree remains to be seen. He was serving it up to Chantry House when he came down.

Janidil was impressive at Fairyhouse, Latest Exhibition wasn’t disgraced in the Irish National off top weight and Colreevy has to run here as I don’t know where else she can run.

“I don’t know if I would be rushing to have a bet in the race – I would hopefully try and find something a bit more straightforward – but I can’t wait to watch it. I do think Envoi Allen might just get his compensation for Cheltenham.”

*Odds quoted on the widget are Future Racing/Antepost prices which means that if your selection does not run in the race for whatever reason, you will lose your stake under traditional antepost rules

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