A Plus Tard heads Cheveley Park Christmas team

Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up A Plus Tard will be the standard bearer for a strong Cheveley Park Stud squad bound for Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting.

Envoi Allen and Ferny Hollow are also likely to be in Grade 1 action for the owners but Allaho is likely to miss out.

Henry de Bromhead-trained A Plus Tard will be a hot favourite to make it back-to-back wins in the Savills Chase on December 28th, following his scintillating comeback in the Betfair Chase at Haydock last month, when he trounced the improving Royal Pagaille by 22-lengths.

The previous afternoon his stablemate Envoi Allen could drop back in trip for the Paddy's Rewards Club Chase after coming up short behind Allaho in the John Durkan at Punchestown, finishing a lacklustre sixth.

Both Envoi Allen and Allaho are also entered for the Ladbrokes King George VI Chase at Kempton, but Cheveley Park director Richard Thompson has ruled out running either in the Boxing Day showpiece.

He said: "We were delighted to win the John Durkan with Allaho. He had the form, having won the Ryanair at Cheltenham last season, and he was very gritty on the day.

"I think he probably needs a break after that. Maybe he'll have a run in February and then go on to Cheltenham, or maybe he'll go straight to Cheltenham and then Aintree after that.

"We look at Allaho as a horse that will hopefully be around for another three or four years, so we're not that fussed about running him too much."

Envoi Allen headed the market against Allaho in the John Durkan and Thompson admits he might never fulfil the huge potential he showed earlier in his career.

"Envoi Allen was disappointing, but maybe that's his form over two and a half (miles). He's still a very good horse, but potentially the talking horse is not quite what people thought he might be," he added.

"We're thinking he's going to come back in trip on the 27th, as long as he's in good form."

On the opening day of Leopardstown's Christmas Festival, Ferny Hollow is set to line up for the Grade 1 Racing Post Novices' Chase.

Having been off the track since beating Bob Olinger in a maiden hurdle last year, the Willie Mullins-trained gelding made an excellent start to his chasing career on the John Durkan undercard.

Thompson said: "He'd been off for a year and it was chasing debut as well, so it was great to see him come back and show that acceleration.

"We've got big hopes for Ferny Hollow - he could be special. His form last year was top-notch, having beaten Appreciate It in the Champion Bumper and Bob Olinger over hurdles.

"I think he'll run at Leopardstown on Boxing Day (St Stephen's Day), so with him and Envoi Allen and A Plus Tard obviously going back to the Savills, it could be a lively one for us."

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