Espoir D'Allen A Doubt For Champion Hurdle

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Gavin Cromwell's stable star this season and unbeaten so far this campaign was targeted for the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham but there has been reports he is now a doubt due to the trainer fearing the favourite Buveur D'Air.

Espoir D'Allen is now on a career high mark and has been raised four pounds for his latest win as 4/9 favourite on Sunday in the Grade 3 Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas.

It seemed if he came out of this race well he would make a bid at the Cheltenham festival in the Unibet Champion Hurdle but because of now his mark of 159 and rise in the weights, the trainer could now be reconsidering his approach for where to take the J P McManus owned gelding.

The five year old has only lost once in his eight starts over hurdles during his career and now see's himself at 12/1for the Grade 1 contest at Prestbury Park but Gavin Cromwell has suggested there are big risks if this is set to be the plan for the still young horse.

(Credit Racing Post) The trainer said: "If a 100 per cent Buveur D’Air showed up, I don’t know how keen I would be to take him on. It would be very hard for a five-year-old to beat him I reckon.

"He’s the best I’ve ever trained and I would have no problem running him in a Champion Hurdle, in fact I think he could run very well in the race, but it is a big ask. I will have a chat to Frank [Berry, racing manager for JP McManus] and the lads and we will make a plan, but I don’t really mind one way or the other whether he goes to Cheltenham or not."

Cromwell added: "I was pleased with him on Sunday. He did it well, although he dived at four-out and wasn’t great at the last so he would have to jump a lot better than that if we were thinking about winning a Champion Hurdle.

"He has the option of Aintree and there is a race at Fairyhouse over Easter, so he has a few options. If we were to go to Cheltenham then great, but I’m not sure yet. The good thing is that he has come out of Naas in great form."

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