Cheltenham Festival winner Espoir D'Allen set to miss Champion Hurdle defence

Espoir D'Allen is away and clear in the Unibet Champion Hurdle
Espoir D'Allen is away and clear in the Unibet Champion Hurdle

Champion Hurdle winner Espoir D'Allen is unlikely to run in the 2019-20 National Hunt season after an accident at home.

A surprise winner at Cheltenham in March, the Gavin Cromwell-trained five-year-old has nevertheless won eight of his nine starts over hurdles to date.

Espoir D'Allen took a fall when returning to the yard from the gallops last week and is currently in Fethard Equine Hospital where he continues to be assessed.

Owner JP McManus' racing manager Frank Berry said: "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."

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