Fairyhouse’s Winter Festival proved highly successful for Gordon Elliott and Cheveley Park Stud, with ENVOI ALLEN and BALLYADAM both bagging Grade 1 prizes. Winner of the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at this meeting 12 months ago, Envoi Allen made all in the hands of Jack Kennedy to win the Grade 1 Drinmore Novice Chase without being fully extended. The unbeaten Envoi Allen’s record now stands at ten straight wins under rules, including five Grade 1s. Following the race, Gordon Elliott nominated the Grade 3 Killiney Novice Chase at Punchestown in January as a potential stepping stone to the Cheltenham Festival.
BALLYADAM had big shoes to fill in the Royal Bond, but managed to overcame more experienced rivals on only his second start over hurdles and justify favouritism. Jack Kennedy produced Ballyadam with a slick leap at the second last flight and steadied him into the final hurdle with the race looking in safe keeping. On the run in, Ballyadam kept on well under hands and heels to win a shade cosily. He holds an entry for the Grade 1 Future Champions Novice Hurdle at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival, which could be his next port of call.