A PLUS TARD and ENVOI ALLEN ensured Cheveley Park Stud ended 2019 and kicked off 2020 with Grade 1 victories. A Plus Tard struck gold in the Paddy’s Rewards Club Chase at Leopardstown on December 27th, lowering the colours of Chacun Pour Soi. Hot on his heels, Envoi Allen extended his unbeaten run to seven, including three at the highest level, with a convincing success in the Lawlor’s of Naas Novice Hurdle on January 5th.
A Plus Tard scored at last season’s Cheltenham Festival in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase, motoring clear to score by sixteen lengths. He arrived at Leopardstown following an encouraging reappearance second at Navan in November. Given a cool Rachael Blackmore ride, he ranged up alongside Chacun Pour Soi approaching the last flight and surged clear on the run-in to notch a decisive 3.5 length victory. Henry de Bromhead’s charge could now head for the Grade 1 Dublin Chase, run over the same course and distance as his festive success, before heading back to the Cheltenham Festival.
Envoi Allen was the star attraction at Naas and his huge reputation was demonstrated by the fact he was sent off 1/4 Fav to follow up his win in the Royal Bond. On his first attempt beyond two miles under rules, he travelled smoothly, tracking the pace set by Elixir D’Ainay. Envoi Allen was given a gentle shake of the rein approaching the penultimate flight and loomed boldly alongside the longtime leader. He was in command by the time he popped over the final hurdle and Davy Russell just had to keep him up to his work with a hands and heels ride on the run-in. Gordon Elliott’s star is likely to have multiple entries at both the Dublin Racing Festival and the Cheltenham Festival.