Cromwell always had faith and hope for Champion Hurdle!

Story by Conall Collier

Tuesday, 12th March, 2019 7:07pm

Cromwell always had faith and hope for Champion Hurdle!

Espoir on the way to victory for trainer Gavin Cromwell

Meath trainer Gavin Cromwell landed the feature on day one of the Cheltenham Festival today.

The Cromwell-trained Espoir D'Allen was a surprise 16/1 winner of the £450,000 Grade 1 Unibet Champion Hurdle.
 
 “I’m just lost for words. It’s brilliant, unbelievable," commented the trainer who is based at Danestown outside Navan.

“He’s been winning Grade 3s this year, so to win this is fantastic.

“I’m shell-shocked to win anyway, but to win like that — I’m just lost for words.

“When Buveur D’Air fell, we nearly got brought down. It’s unbelievable, I’m completely lost for words,” he added.
 
The Willie Mullins-trained Melon (20/1) was back in second with a neck back to 80/1 shot Silver Streak, trained by Evan Williams in third.
 
Gordon Elliott's Apple's Jade (7/4f) was sixth while defending champion Buveur D'Air (11/4) fell at the third hurdle and Laurina (5/2) could only finish fourth.

"Me and Gavin spoke before the race and the plan was to ride him for a place - we got a place, it was first place," stated winning jockey Mark Walsh.
Winning owner J P McManus was recording an eighth victory in the Champion Hurdle and this was his 55th success at The Festival.

Discussing the winner and Buveur D'Air's (owned by McManus) third-flight fall, McManus commented: "It's great to win another Champion Hurdle. I am thrilled for Gavin (Cromwell) and Mark (Walsh). It is a big moment for them.
 
"It was disappointing to see Buveur D'Air fall, but that was his own making, it's still very nice to win the race with Espoir D'Allen.
 
"Any time you win the Champion Hurdle you have to enjoy it," he added.

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