How Will superstar Envoi Allen Be Affected By Switching From Elliott To De Bromhead

Envoi Allen has won at the last two Cheltenham Festivals

Envoi Allen has won at the last two Cheltenham Festivals

Envoi Allen Switches From Elliott to De Bromhead

The image of Gordon Elliott that surfaced on Saturday 27th February sent shockwaves throughout the racing world.

While the likes of Gigginstown and the Morans decided that the best course of action was to keep their horses at Gordon’s yard, Cheveley Park announced on 2nd March, exactly two weeks before the festival, that they would be moving their horses from Cullentra House; with Ballyadam, Quilixios and Day 3 Irish Banker Envoi Allen all going to Henry De Bromhead while Sir Gerhard went to Willie Mullins.

Cheveley Park’s decision was a complicated one; multiple factors were in-play and to a certain extent, the impact on performance at Cheltenham was not the primary factor given the potential for further reaching implications.

But now the dust is beginning to settle, we must now consider how changing yards to close to Cheltenham will impact their chances.

Since 2003, 190 horses have had their first run for a new trainer at the festival. Of those, just six managed to win (3%-win S/R) with a further thirteen hitting the frame (10%-place S/R). While they do underperform against market expectations (A/E 0.79), it is important to note that a whopping 170 of those 190 runners were sent off at a double-figure price. Looking at those 20 runners that had an SP of 9/1 or shorter, they would’ve been profitable to back blind; recording a profit of 4pts (SP win only to level stakes), with three wins and a further four finishing in the frame.

Interestingly, of the 62 to run in graded company, none have won while only three have placed. Again though, most of those were rank outsiders, with the mean SP of the aforementioned being over 87/1.

As such, it’s vital to consider the wider circumstances surrounding those running for a new trainer for the first time. Two of the more recent winners, Aux Ptits Soins and Diego Du Charmil, were both having their first run in Britain having recently joined Paul Nicholls. Many would have switched yards in hope of sparking some improvement while there are numerous other reasons why they would’ve moved before running at Cheltenham.

But the circumstances surrounding the Cheveley Park runners are unique. With just two weeks before the festival, the bulk of the work would’ve been done with just the finishing touches needing to be applied to ensure each horse is as well as can be before Cheltenham. With that in mind, the statistics mentioned above should be taken with a significant pinch of salt; while they are interesting, context is crucial and, in this case, we are dealing with an unprecedented situation.

The bigger concern revolves around how the horse will adapt to its new environment. As Paul Nicholls noted, “People do things so totally different” with regards to routine, adding that it took the Sullivan horses that came to his yard from Willie’s the best part of a year to get used to his routine.

And considering the intricacies that go into the care of each horse, his comments are entirely valid.

But of course, each horse is an individual and will react to change differently; some will be impacted more than others. However, Willie and Henry will understand these issues more than perhaps anyone, certainly more so than this writer, so they will be aware of what each horse requires to ensure they can perform to the best of their abilities.

With that in mind, I would be happy to assess each of the Cheveley Park runners based on their individual merits as opposed to dismissing their chances based on the change of yard. Expect it to be discussed in the coming days but it’s significance might be overstated.