There were joyous scenes for JP McManus in Cheltenham today as his 16/1 outsider Espoir D’Allen stormed to victory in the feature Grade 1 Unibet Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.
McManus’ Buveir D’Air entered the race as one of the markets favourites but fell at the third, paving the way for Mark Walsh to ride to victory ahead of the likes of Laurina and Apples Jade.
In the green and gold colours to which we have become accustomed to seeing on McManus’ jockeys, the five year old, trained by Gavin Cromwell of Meath, won by a couple of lengths.
Speaking to BBC after the race, Walsh was ecstatic saying,
“For a five-year-old to do that against one of the best Champion Hurdle fields for the past few years is unbelievable.”
Espoir D’Allen was not the only surprise in the top three with 20/1 Melon and 80/1 Silver Streak making up the top three.