Gordon Elliott confirmed his unbeaten star novice hurdler Envoi Allen will next run at Naas in the Lawlors Hotel Grade One Novice Hurdle, rather than at Christmas.
The trainer of Envoi Allen, Samcro and Apple's Jade spoke to Off The Ball at the launch of the Lawlor's Hotel Naas Grade One Novices Hurdle.
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) December 20, 2019
Envoi Allen cost owners Cheveley Park £400,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland Cheltenham February Sale after he won his sole point-to-point start for Colin Bowe.
Since then he is yet to put a hoof wrong in the care of Gordon Elliott. The Cheltenham champion bumper win made him four from four in that sphere. He stepped seamlessly into Grade One company over hurdles when last seen in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse.
The Lawlor's Hotel Grade One Novice Hurdle at Naas is the first top-level race of 2020 and Envoi Allen will command top billing.
Mouse Morris won the Lawlor’s Of Naas Hurdle with subsequent Grand National winner Rule the World, although it was only a Grade Two back in 2013.
Morris will be represented this time around by French Dynamite, who won his maiden hurdle at the first time of asking at Thurles. "I was very happy with him the last day and the plan is that he’ll go to Naas," said Morris.
Envoi Allen is one of six Gordon Elliott trained entries. However, the trainer suggested most of those will not line up, and will instead be re-routed elsewhere over Christmas.
"Naas is a great track and we have a good few entered in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Hurdle and the plan is to run Envoi Allen. He won The Royal Bond well at Fairyhouse and the step up to two-and-half miles will suit him.
"We’ll run something else along with him - we’ll see closer to the time what else we’ll run, but Envoi Allen will go to Naas," said the Cullentra trainer.
Abacadabras, trained by Elliot and with several entries over the festive period, is currently the odds-on favourite for the Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle on the 27th at Leopardstown.
The trainer says Abacadabras is likely to run there after he finished second to Envoi Allen in the Royal Bond.
The Christmas racing is plentiful and Elliott will be busy with runners lined up for all of the graded racing over the festive period.
Samcro will look to bounce back after his fall at Fairyhouse and the plan is for him to run at Limerick on the 26th where he could meet former Champion Hurdle winner Faugheen.
While Apple's Jade will again line up at Leopardstown in the three-mile hurdle, she won last year. This time around though Elliott confirmed she will wear cheekpieces.
The Gordon Elliott yard is in rude health currently as they approach the €2 million prizemoney mark for the season. Given the level of equine firepower about to be unleashed over Christmas, that trend is unlikely to change soon.