Cheltenham Festival News
|Wednesday 3rd March 2021
Henry de Bromhead Stable News
Henry de Bromhead has spoken about Cheveley Park Stud’s decision to send him leading Cheltenham Festival candidates including Envoi Allen, Ballyadam and Quilixos.
The horses arrived at de Bromhead’s yard on Tuesday and the trainer revealed he has already had “a really helpful” phone conversation with Gordon Elliott, who until this week had been responsible for the contenders.
He said: “It’s obviously not the circumstances of how you’d like to get horses, but these are the horses everyone’s trying to get and I feel fortunate that Cheveley Park have decided to send them to us. The three that are entered for Cheltenham include Envoi Allen and he seems great.
“They came down and they looked great when they arrived here, so it’s just a case of trying to tick them over and not let the change of regime upset them too much. If we can do as good a job as Gordon has done with them, we’ll be delighted.
“They arrived on Tuesday evening, and we’re just letting them settle in. They’re cantering away. You wouldn’t be working them but they’re hacking away and they’re great.”
Asked if he would feel any extra pressure attached to training horses which had been successful elsewhere, de Bromhead said: “Of course you would a bit, but you’re just trying to do it as best as you can and get them there as best you can.
“It is a big change for them and you try and keep it as simple as possible but it is a big change. But they seem good and they’ve settled in really well, so we’ll just tick them over and try and get them there in good shape.”
Envoi Allen is already a dual Festival winner having taken the Grade One Weatherbys Champion Bumper in 2019 and the Grade One Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle last year. This time around his aim is the Grade One Marsh Novices’ Chase.
De Bromhead said: “He’s a gorgeous horse and we feel very fortunate that Cheveley Park have sent him to us.
“Quixilios is in both the Fred Winter and the Triumph. I haven’t really firmed up on that as yet, so we’ll discuss that with Cheveley Park at the time as see what we’d like to do. He’s in both, so we’ll see nearer the time. Quixilios seems good. We’re only hacking away but he seems to have taken it in his stride.
“I would imagine we’re leaning towards the Supreme with Ballyadam, but we’ll keep our options open.
“Jack (Kennedy) has ridden him all year and he will ride the three of them if he is available.”
Connections are hopeful that the talented Eklat de Rire can make his presence felt in the Grade One Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase on Day Two.
The seven year old has yet to put a foot wrong in two starts over fences and impressed when taking Grade Three honours on his most recent start at Naas in January.
Eklat de Rire is an 8-1 chance for the Grade One contest over three miles and half a furlong, and looks the main contender to the odds-on favourite Monkfish as far as the market is concerned – provided that the fellow Rich Ricci-owned horse Royale Pagaille (4-1) heads elsewhere, as expected.
De Bromhead is hopeful of giving Monkfish a serious test at The Festival. He said: “He’s two from two so far and is lovely. He’s done nothing wrong this year, and he won his Grade Three the other day very impressively, so he goes for the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase.
“He jumps his fences really well, touch wood, and we’ll find out how good he is there and see if we can give Monkfish a race. (Monkfish) has obviously been super impressive, but our lad has been very good as well, so we’ll see on the day. My one concern would be if it’s very good ground, so some rain would be welcome.”
De Bromhead has a particularly strong squad for this year’s Festival, and is looking forward to the week. Asked if his team for Cheltenham is his strongest ever, he replied: “I’d say it would have to be up there, but we’ll see how we go. I’ve had odds-on shots beaten and 50-1 winners here, so we feel very lucky with the horses we have and are bringing and we’ll see how it all unfolds.”
The trainer also ran through the rest of his potential Festival runners and assessed their chances:
Ballyadam, Irracible and Champagne Gold (Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle)
“I would imagine we’re leaning towards the Supreme with Ballyadam, but we’ll keep our options open. We also have Irracible and Champagne Gold but I’m not sure yet – we haven’t firmed up on anything yet. I’d say Irracible would go for the Supreme, he’s in the County Hurdle but he’ll probably go for the Supreme.”
Bob Olinger (Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle)
“I’d be leaning towards the Ballymore with Bob Olinger, but we haven’t discussed it with his owners yet. I would imagine that’s the race we’re learning towards. He seems great and we’re delighted with him, and hopefully Cheltenham will suit. He’s had three runs and he won his Grade One at Naas – the Lawlor’s is a really good race – so I didn’t feel any need to go to the Dublin Festival with him. He’s a good moving horse and works well on good-ish ground, so hopefully he should be fine (if the ground came up quicker).”
Captain Guinness (Sporting Life Arkle Trophy)
“He’s brilliant and is in great form. It was a bit of silly fall in the Irish Arkle at Leopardstown at the second last, but he’s been in great from since and he schooled really well the other day, so I’m happy with him and I’m looking forward to running him – I think it will really suit.”
Plan Of Attack (Ultima Handicap Chase and Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup)
“We’re not sure about him yet and he might stay here. We want to go wherever we might get a bit of good ground, so he might stay here for the Leinster National at Naas instead.”
Minella Melody (Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle)
“The Mares’ Hurdle is the plan at the moment. She’s in great form and worked well yesterday. She’s a lovely mare and has just been unfortunate to have met Concertista twice this year, but we’re hoping for a good run.”
Telmesomethinggirl (Coral Cup and Parnell Properties Mares' Novices' Hurdle)
“I’d say we’re learning towards the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (over the Coral Cup). She had a lovely run at Leopardstown on her first run back after a break, and she’s freshened up really well. I would guess her name is after what you think it is – but we bought her from a point to point so I’m not entirely sure who named her!”
Balko Des Flos (Glenfarcas Chase and Ryanair Chase)
“I’d say we’re leaning towards the Cross Country with him, but he’s in the Ryanair so we’ll see – we haven’t really firmed up on that as yet. I think he’d love the cross country fences, we’ve done a fair bit with him to just try and freshen him up and he’s really enjoying it. Obviously it would be his first time doing it and he’d be dropped in at the deep end, so we’ll see.”
Cappuccimix (Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup)
“I think we’ll go in the Grand Annual, and he’s in good form. He had a very good run at Leopardstown and just got a bit tired from the last home, but this is over two miles and is on the Old Course now, so I think it should suit him.”
Gabbys Cross and Milliner (Pertemps Final)
“Both horses qualified for this race at Punchestown on Monday. Gabbys Cross won’t go, but Milliner could. He’ll need a bit of luck to sneak in, but he’s in great form and we’ll see after the confirmation stage. If he does, I think he’d have a right chance hopefully.”
Chris’s Dream (Ryanair Chase)
“He was a bit unfortunate to be just chinned at Down Royal in the Champion Chase by The Storyteller, but he’s great and I think we’ll have a go in the Ryanair. He’s done really well and has been brilliant for us, and I think he could run well.”
Magic Daze (Parnell Properties Mares' Novices' Hurdle)
“She’s a lovely mare and you’re obviously taking a little chance with her as she’s fairly unexposed, but she’s a gorgeous mare and has got a great appetite for it. She loves the game, she goes a real good gallop and although it’s a tough old race to call she’s in good form and we’re happy with her.”
Commandingpresence (Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle)
“Ideally I’d like him to go for the Martin Pipe if he can get in, so we’ll see how it all unfolds. We decided to put him away for a good break, so he’s in great form and worked well the other day and we’re looking forward to running him.”
Minella Escape (Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle)
“She fell on her last start and won’t travel over.”
Henry de Bromhead – 9 winners at The Festival
2011 Sizing Europe - Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
2011 Sizing Australia - Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase
2017 Special Tiara - Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
2018 Balko Des Flos - Ryanair Chase
2019 A Plus Tard - Northern Trust Company Novices’ Handicap Chase
2019 Minella Indo - Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
2020 Put The Kettle On – Sporting Life Arkle
2020 Honeysuckle - Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle