Espoir D’Allen, the stunning winner winner of this year’s Champion Hurdle, has been put down following a freak accident at Gavin Cromwell’s stables earlier this month.
The JP McManus owned five-year-old fell when returning from the gallops to the County Meath yard and was being treated at Fethard Equine Hospital.
In a statement, Cromwell said:

“It is with great sadness that we have to announce that Espoir D’Allen had to be put down. Following a freak accident two weeks ago, he was relocated to Fethard Equine Hospital. John Halley and his veterinary team deemed that it was inhumane to persist with treatment and, on their advice, we made the tough decision.”

Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, added:

“He was only five and he’d had two fantastic seasons and it’s very tough for Gavin and everyone concerned with the horse. He gave us some great days.”

Winner of his sole start in an Irish point, Espoir D’Allen won all but one of his 10 starts under rules amassing total prize money of £371,707.

After winning three Grade 3 contests in emphatic fashion the son of Voix Du Nord was sent off a seemingly unfancied 16/1 for the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. However, after cruising into contention travelling strongly two from home he took up the running at the second last and surged clear to easily beat Melon by 15 lengths.

It was a visually stunning performance under Mark Walsh and one which saw him installed as the general 3/1 favourite to retain his crown in 2020. He looked to have the world at his feet until tragedy struck and it highlights in incredible highs and lows that the sport can produce.

Sickening for all involved

Walsh said:

“It is a sickening day for everyone concerned. He is only a five-year-old and he holds the record in the Champion Hurdle by winning it by 15 lengths. He could have been anything. It is very sad for JP and Gavin and everyone in the yard. Words can’t describe the way everyone is feeling. He is the best I have ridden without any doubt.”

Berry, added:

“It is very tough on Gavin and the whole team. It is very disappointing as he was only five and he had never run a bad race in his life. It is a shame it has happened but it is part and parcel of racing unfortunately.”

The Willie Mullins trained Klassical Dream, a brilliant winner of Grade 1 Supreme Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, is now the new favourite for the 2020 Champion Hurdle at 7/2 with bet365. Dual winner of the race Buveur D’air, who is owned by McManus, is next best in the betting at 7/1 with Betfred.

Leading Owners Paul and Claire Rooney to Scale Down Operation

 Leading owners Paul and Clare Rooney, who for a spell informed their trainers to boycott Cheltenham, have revealed that they are to reduce their number of horses in training.

Their yellow and navy blue quartered silks have become a familiar sight on racecourses since their emergence in the 2011-12 season and they now plan to focus on “quality over quantity”. Willoughby Court landed the Grade 1 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle for them at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival and If The Cap Fits is another that has bagged them success at the highest level. The Last Samuri also did them proud when runner-up in the 2016 Grand National at Aintree.

Racing manager Jason Maguire told At The Races:

“Paul and Clare are still committed owners in racing on the Flat and over jumps. But they decided they have too many horses in training and wish to concentrate on quality rather than quantity.”

The Rooney’s will be sending around 25 horses, both flat and jumpers, to the Doncaster sales on September 18. In the 2018-19 jumps season in Britain the Rooneys had 66 individual runners who raced a total of 211 times and won on 47 occasions.  However, as well as success they have also experienced heartbreak with the David Pipe trained Starchitect suffering a fatal injury when clear in the 2017 running of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

The Rooneys wrote to their trainers in December of last year to inform them they did not want their horses to be considered for races at the home of jumps racing due to their concerns the track posed a higher risk of injury. However, they subsequently reversed the decision.

Moon Over Germany One to Bear in Mind for BetVictor Gold Cup

Moon Over Germany made an impressive return to action when winning at Ballinrobe and looks a potential candidate for the feature race at Cheltenham’s November meeting, the betVictor Gold Cup.

The Henry De Bromhead trained eight-year-old jumped well and found plenty when challenge approaching the last to beat Ordinary World by 4 3/4 lengths – despite looking ring rusty and in need of the outing.

He is sure to come on a bundle for that run and showed what he is capable of at his peak when running out the emphatic 10 length winner of the Grade 3 Red Rum Handicap Chase at Aintree Grand National meeting back in April.
Moon Over Germany won at Ballinrobe off an official rating of 147 and the handicapper is unlikely to put him up much, if anything, for that success.

It would seem him get in the BetVictor Gold Cup off a lovely racing weight of around 10st 12lb and make him a fascinating contender for his shrewd handler.

There are currently no ante post prices for the valuable 2m 4f contest, but when they do become available Moon Over Germany is undoubtedly worthy of close scrutiny and one to consider as an each-way wager should the price be favourable..