Ruby Walsh: Envoi Allen should steer clear of Champion Hurdle

Ruby took in a cracking day's racing at Fairyhouse on Sunday, with Envoi Allen among the star turns


Drinmore Drama

Fairyhouse on Sunday was as enjoyable a day as I had at the races in a long time as a spectator. It was great racing from start to finish. It was a great crowd, a great atmosphere. All right, we didn’t get the race we wanted in the Drinmore.

Samcro departed just as it was getting really interesting, but I thought as a day’s racing it was brilliant.

Fakir D’oudairies’s jumping was spectacular. He looks to me like a horse that could go back in trip the way he jumps. He’s so athletic through the air. He’s so quick, and he doesn’t even have to stand back at some of the fences.


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He’s as fast when he gets in close to the fences as he is when he stands out from them. He’s a real professional jumper.

Samcro loomed up and was travelling well, but so much changes in Fairyhouse between the last two fences. That’s when the race gets tough.

It’s too hard to know what would’ve happened, but it would have been brilliant if he stayed up. He was just going at speed and slipped away from the back of the fence. Jack Kennedy couldn’t do anything about it.

It was disappointing. You could feel the crowd, you could feel it building, people were getting the race they wanted, and it was a letdown when he fell.

Before that he looked nearly back to the horse that he was as a novice hurdler. He was going to have to quicken up and go and fight to win. It would have been interesting to see if he that in him to do it. The race wasn’t a done deal anyway.

Fakir could go very easily back to two-mile races the way he jumps.


Special Envoi

Envoi Allen did what you expected him to do and I don’t even think he was given a proper test. I thought Davy Russell poked him out, kept it simple, went a good even gallop, and he was always just giving it too much for the horses that were coming behind him.

He’s a really neat, nimble jumper and he’s just a special racehorse.

Even with Abracadbras looming, I was in no doubt, When I saw Davy had him lined up and going forward, I thought it was all over.

I think he’ll be at Leopardstown next.

Some are talking about him for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, but I would keep him in novice company.

I’m not changing my tune from anything I’ve ever said in my life. People have made the same case for horses in years gone by and I’ve always said novices are novices. That’s why we have novice races.

Make A Stand, Alderbrook and Royal Gait are the only three novices I can think of that won a Champion Hurdle. Of course, it can be done. There’s no doubt about it. Someone will do it at some stage, but I’d run in novices. That’s just me.


Sweet as honey

Honeysuckle was very good. Bacardys probably didn’t even run – either Apples Jade improved or Bacardys didn’t run the way he ran in Navan. Either-or, but they were a well-beaten second and third.

Honeysuckle has done everything right in her life so far, and she’s continuing to improve. She is a very, very good racer. I was a bit surprised at how good she was. She’s improved.

It will be interesting to see where Henry de Bromhead goes with her. Both Christmas Hurdle and December Hurdle options are possible at Leopardstown.

It’s a quandary because she doesn’t really jump like a two-miler.

Having said that, Faugheen was only okay, Annie Power was all right, so, what is jumping like a two-miler?

But she does give her hurdles a little bit of air. To me, looking at her the other day, she’d won at two miles but if they were to go another half a mile, how far was she going to win by?

If she’d have gone another half-a-mile, she’d end up winning by 35 lengths. So, I don’t know which way they’ll go.


She did win at two miles in Thurles, which required speed, and she stayed really well when she won the two-and-a-half-mile Mares’ Grade 1 Novice.

Good horses can be very adaptable at trip, and I think she’s going to be one of those.

The Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham is what it would look for with her. Her best performances have been at two-and-a-half. It will be interesting to see which way they go.

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What do you think?