Espoir D'Allen Shocks Champion Hurdle Field To Win

Espoir D'Allen for trainer Gavin Cromwell landed a shock Grade 1 Champion Hurdle victory to become the first five year old to win the race since 1985 as dual winner Buveur D'Air crashed out mid way through the race.

This race was set up for the top three in three in the market with Gordon Elliott's Apple's Jade, Willie Mullins Laurina and Nicky Henderson's Buveur D'Air.

However, it was the outsiders of the field that made the race and owner J P Mcmanus went on to land the race for third year in a row with 16/1 winner Espoir D'Allen.

It was tight for second between Willie Mullins Melon and Evan Williams Buveur D'Air with the Irishman's horse finishing second in the race for the second year in a row.

The race started as planned with Apple's Jade getting to the front with Melon just in Behind, The classy Laurina settled for third as the race was ran at a fair pace.

As the race developed and the field began to cluster there was a huge mistake with still half the race left to run when the winner of the last two races Buveur D'Air crashed out bringing down Willie Mullins Sharjah with him.

Both jockeys and trainers got up fine but this then left the race wide open with Apple's Jade starting to be shaken up.

Laurina and Melon started to press on as the Gigginstown mare, who we can all see hates it round Cheltenham fell to the back and was never travelling in the race.

Laurina went to the front with three left to jump and she looked sure to make a bold challenge when Gavin Cromwell's eventual winner Espoir D'Allen cruised through.

This five year old travelled like a dream and good all the other horses off the bridle with Laurina struggling and Melon and the 80/1 Silver Streak staying on.

Espoir D'Allen stuttered at the last but got over safely and just cruised away from the rest of the field for a shock victory.

Melon just got up to take second where Silver Streak out ran his odds to finish third.

This was not the Champion Hurdle the racing world was expecting, but it was still a high class affair that may have bought out a new superstar hurdler.