Racing manager Frank Berry has revealed Espoir D’Allen is expected to miss the 2019/20 National Hunt season. The Champion Hurdle winner, who has won eight of his nine starts over hurdles to date, was tipped to continue his good run of form after landing a surprise victory at Cheltenham in March.
However, the five-year-old gelding picked up an injury when falling on his return to the yard from the gallops last week and is currently being assessed in Fethard Equine Hospital. Speaking about Espoir’s condition, Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, admits the Gavin Cromwell-trained charge is likely to spend the rest of the season on the sidelines.
He was quoted as saying by Sky Sports: “Unfortunately he reared over when he got spooked on his way back to the yard last week. He’s at Fethard and they are thoroughly checking him over. As yet we’re not exactly sure but it looks like he’ll be out for the season.
“Hopefully, we’ll know a bit more by the end of the week. It’s a real blow for Gavin and his team who did so well with him last season. I suppose if there’s any saving grace in all this, it is that he’s only a five-year-old, he’s young enough to be given plenty of time.”