Espoir shows Champion Hurdle credentials
Espoir D'Allen showed his credentials for a possible Champion Hurdle outing with a victory in the Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas.
The JP McManus-owned five-year-old, who has suffered just one defeat in eight outings in the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at last season's Dublin Racing Festival, was featuring in his first race outside of his own age group on Sunday afternoon.
And, despite conceding 7lb to older rivals including Grade One winner Wicklow Brave in the Grade Three race, Espoir D'Allen was guided to victory by Barry Geraghty, who guided him home two and a half lengths ahead of Wicklow Brave.
Trainer Gavin Cromwell said: "It was a good performance to give 7lb away to those horses. It was a bit of an unknown taking on the older horses for the first time, but you would have to be happy with that.
"Where we go from here, I'm not sure, and I'll have to talk to Frank (Berry, racing manager) and JP. Obviously they have the favourite for the Champion Hurdle [Buveur D'Air] and there are plenty more options.
"He was very long at the last and he let him shorten. He picked up well again after the last and won well.
"He's a good jumper and makes up ground at his hurdles. He has fair scope."
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