Envoi win caps emotional day for the De Bromheads
THE celestial scriptwriter penned the perfect script on day three of the Festival as Envoi Allen bounced back to win the Grade One Ryanair Chase.
He tailed off on his last run in the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day, but it was a return to form for a gelding who has struggled to live up to the huge reputation he carved when he won his first 12 races.
Normally, the post-race spotlight would have shone on Envoi Allen’s jockey Rachael Blackmore but this time it was firmly on trainer Henry de Bromhead.
Race six on the card, the Mares Novices’ Hurdle, was run in honour of his son Jack ( right), the 13- year- old killed in a pony- racing accident in September.
Jack should have been standing alongside his dad proudly shouting Envoi Allen home. Instead, it was his sisters Mia and Georgia and mum Heather.
There had been an outpouring of support for the De Bromheads when Honeysuckle won the Mares’ Hurdle on
Tuesday. Many have marvelled at the resilience they have shown and once again, yesterday’s public theme was a celebration of the boy they lost.
After 13-2 shot Envoi Allen had beaten hot favourite Shishkin, Henry said: ‘ The number of people who travelled over — friends and family — for Jack’s race is great. Everyone has looked after us.’ Gesturing to the crowd surrounding the winner’s enclosure, Henry added: ‘ I’d say most of the people up there are my friends and family! Envoi Allen is a class horse.’
The image of the day, however, was not Envoi Allen winning.
That came after Jack’s race won by the Gavin Sheehan-ridden, Jamie Snowden- trained 16- 1 chance You Wear It Well when a group of Jack’s friend’s mounted the podium for the presentation alongside his family.
Heather said: ‘There are 15 or 16 of them. All his best friends have come over. They were his gang. They come and see us every few weeks. They are incredible and great to his sisters.’
Some thought the scriptwriter got one thing wrong. Henry saddled five runners in the race including Magical Zoe who was a gallant second.
But Heather added: ‘ Someone said to us, “We are sad you didn’t win”. But Jack would have thought that was the greatest cliche. He gave us our Grade One earlier and we’ll settle for that.’