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Envoi Allen and Monkfish to clash at the Punchestown Festival

  • We bring you the news that Envoi Allen will next appear at the Punchestown Festival
  • Envoi Allen's unbeaten record came to an end with an early fall at Cheltenham
  • Henry De Bromhead will now aim his star at the Champion Novices' Chase at the Punchestown Festival
  • Envoi Allen could face Monkfish for the first time in that Grade One
Envoi Allen will make his final appearance of the season at Punchestown. (Getty)

One of racing's great unbeaten runs came to an end at the Cheltenham Festival last month. Envoi Allen went into the Marsh Novices' Chase looking for his 13th victory on the bounce, and his third Cheltenham triumph in as many years.

Despite going into the Marsh the strong favourite, things started to unravel for Envoi Allen before the race had even begun. Jack Kennedy's mount looked uncharacteristically unsettled and fractious as the runners lobbied for a good starting position, and Envoi Allen overshot the first couple of fences.

Kennedy's mount jumped the third nicely enough, but met the fourth on a long stride. Envoi Allen's front legs brushed through the birch, and he couldn't deploy the landing gear in time, crashing to the canvas for the first time in his career.

Thankfully, the beaten favourite was back on his feet quickly, and cantered back to the stables unscathed. De Bromhead now faces the task of getting his once all-conquering recruit back on track.

As Envoi Allen bowed out so early, many thought he would line up in the two-and-a-half-mile Grade One at Fairyhouse this weekend. However, De Bromhead revealed to the press this week that Punchestown Festival will be next on Envoi Allen's agenda.

"Sadly the race at Fairyhouse just came too soon for Envoi Allen and we will wait for Punchestown instead." De Bromhead revealed to the Racing Post.

"Initially we thought it would be a good idea to go to Fairyhouse but I felt like I would be rushing him to get him there and I didn't want to do that. I wanted to give him more time. 

"The three-mile option at Punchestown would look the ideal race for him and it will be nice to find out for next season whether he stays the trip or not. He's won a Ballymore, and was strong at the end of it, so I certainly hope and would think he will stay. He's been good since Cheltenham and we're learning about him every day."

Jockey Paul Townend celebrates on Monkfish after winning the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase. (Getty)

This plan puts Envoi Allen on a collision course with Monkfish, who secured his third Grade One of the season in the Brown Advisory Chase at Cheltenham. Willie Mullins' star was far from foot-perfect on the day, but still had more than enough left in hand to see off a couple of Colin Tizzard runners and remain unbeaten over fences.

Mullins said earlier in the week that, "the intention is for Monkfish to go to Punchestown. He's come out of Cheltenham very well and I've been very happy with him."

If the two make it to Punchestown in one piece, then the showdown between Envoi Allen and Monkfish will be one of the most intriguing clashes the sport has seen in recent seasons. 

Both have shown more than flashes of unbelievable ability during their short careers. Monkfish's finest hour came over two-miles-five-furlongs at the Dublin Racing Festival, while Envoi Allen is untested over further than that distance, so the 25-furlong trip in Champion Novices' Chase at Punchestown will stretch both to their limits.

Monkfish currently heads the betting for the 2022 Gold Cup, with Envoi Allen sitting third in the market. Once two of horse racing's shining stars clash at Punchestown, however, that market is sure to get shaken up.

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