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Envoi Allen exit leaves punter relieved to have cashed out for £250,000

Punter Paul Dean proved to have made a wise decision on Thursday when he opted for a partial cash out of £250,000 on his remarkable £5 accumulator.

Dean stood to bank £511,225 if he allowed the bet to roll on and Envoi Allen won the opening Marsh Novices’ Chase on day three of the Cheltenham Festival.

However, he instead took Betfair’s cash-out offer after overnight deliberation – although he still stood to land another £50,000 if the previously-unbeaten Envoi Allen took his perfect record to 12 from 12.

Sent off the 4-9 favourite under Jack Kennedy, the race was going along as expected until he appeared to take off a stride too early at the fourth fence, brushing through the top of it and crumpling on landing.

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Dean tweeted immediately after the race that he hoped Envoi Allen was OK following his fall, and that appeared to be the case, although jockey Jack Kennedy was a disconsolate figure as he walked back up the track to the weighing room.

He said: “I was anxious when I saw Envoi Allen was in behind other horses at the start as I know he likes to see his fences when jumping. When he fell I wasn’t worried about the money, I was worried about the horse and Jack Kennedy, but they were both OK and that’s all that matters to me.

“The partial cash out with Betfair was a great deal and, even though I would have got another £50,000 if he had won, I’m delighted with the £250,000 and that Jack and Envoi are fine.”

Speaking earlier in the day, Dean said: “It’s a fantastic offer and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve definitely done the right thing.

“It’s all about Cheltenham for me and I love having small ante-post bets and the dream of a big win over the winter. I usually start placing my bets at the next best race meeting after Cheltenham – that’s Royal Ascot in June.”

The accumulator kicked off with Golden Horde (12-1) and Hello Youmzain (10-1) winning the Commonwealth Cup and Diamond Jubilee Stakes respectively at Royal Ascot, before Shishkin, who he had backed at 4-1, claimed the Arkle and Bob Olinger, who he had at 25-1, lifted the Ballymore.

Jack Kennedy walks back along the course after falling from Envoi Allen
Jack Kennedy walks back along the course after falling from Envoi Allen (Tim Goode/PA)

Dean said: “This year I really fancied Golden Horde and Hello Youmzain at Royal Ascot. Shishkin was an obvious one, while Bob Olinger looked so good in his bumper.

“I also love his trainer, Henry de Bromhead, and Bob Olinger’s sire, Sholokhov, plus the Ballymore is my favourite race in the world. I’ve backed all the big winners of the race over the years.

“I just love Envoi Allen and want to be able to cheer him home today, that’s why I have partially cashed out. Come on Envoi.”

Asked what he would do with the money, Dean said: “I’ll be going on a lot of holidays!

“It’s my mum and dad’s 70th this year, so we’ll be going to New York and to some of the best golf courses in the world. I really want to play Bethpage and Sawgrass. And I think I’ll buy a horse.”

Punter to bank £250,000 after opting to cash out accumulator

Punter Paul Dean will collect at least £250,000 on Thursday after deciding to partially cash out his £5 accumulator.

Dean stood to bank £511,225 if he allowed the bet to roll on and Envoi Allen won the opening Marsh Novices’ Chase.

However, he has opted to take Betfair’s cash-out offer after overnight deliberation.

Dean said: “It’s a fantastic offer and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve definitely done the right thing.

“It’s all about Cheltenham for me and I love having small ante-post bets and the dream of a big win over the winter. I usually start placing my bets at the next best race meeting after Cheltenham – that’s Royal Ascot in June.”

The accumulator kicked off with Golden Horde (12-1) and Hello Youmzain (10-1) winning the Commonwealth Cup and Diamond Jubilee Stakes respectively at Royal Ascot, before Shishkin, who he had backed at 4-1, claimed the Arkle and Bob Olinger, who he had at 25-1, lifted the Ballymore.

Dean said: “This year I really fancied Golden Horde and Hello Youmzain at Royal Ascot. Shishkin was an obvious one, while Bob Olinger looked so good in his bumper.

“I also love his trainer, Henry de Bromhead, and Bob Olinger’s sire, Sholokhov, plus the Ballymore is my favourite race in the world. I’ve backed all the big winners of the race over the years.

“I just love Envoi Allen and want to be able to cheer him home today, that’s why I have partially cashed out. Come on Envoi.”

Asked what he will do with the money, Dean said: “I’ll be going on a lot of holidays!

“It’s my mum and dads 70th this year, so we’ll be going to New York and to some of the best golf courses in the world. I really want to play Bethpage and Sawgrass. And I think I’ll buy a horse.”

Betfair spokesman Barry Orr added: “At Paul’s request, we gave him a partial cash-out offer which reflected his desire to have a portion of his bet still running on Envoi Allen, while also ensuring a substantial profit on his incredible bet.

“The offer sees Paul receive £250,000 if anything other than Envoi Allen wins the Marsh Novice Chase and an additional £50,000 should Envoi Allan win. Giving him a total of £300,000 and fulfilling his wish of being able to cheer home Envoi Allen with gusto.”

BHA announces interim suspension on Elliott runners in Britain

Gordon Elliott will not be permitted to have runners in Britain until the conclusion of an Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board investigation into an image on social media that showed the Grand National-winning trainer sitting on a dead horse on his gallops.

Racing authorities in Britain and Ireland have condemned the image, which Elliott confirmed in a statement on Sunday evening was genuine, apologising “profoundly for any offence that this photo has caused”, while seeking to explain what he said was the context of events that led to the photograph.

The IHRB has already launched a full investigation – and while Elliott is licensed in Ireland, the British Horseracing Authority said it was “appalled” by the image and was “considering its own regulatory options”, but has now acted.

A statement on Monday evening said: “The British Horseracing Authority will not allow the Irish trainer Gordon Elliott to race horses in Britain whilst the Irish authorities investigate an image that appeared on social media over the weekend.

“The trainer admitted the photo was genuine and apologised for his actions.

British Horseracing Authority headquarters in London
British Horseracing Authority headquarters in London (John Stillwell/PA)

“The BHA, which regulates racing in Britain, will use powers under its own rules to refuse to allow horses trained by Mr Elliott to race in Britain pending consideration of the outcome of the Irish investigation.

“The action taken by the BHA recognises that Mr Elliott is licensed in Ireland, whose regulatory body, the IHRB, is carrying out its own investigation.

“However, Mr Elliott has entered horses to race in Britain, from which point the British rules of racing apply to him.

“The decision to refuse to allow horses trained by Mr Elliott to run in Britain is therefore an interim decision which the BHA regards as proportionate in these circumstances.”

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The BHA added that owners of horses currently trained by Elliott are permitted to transfer them to a different trainer and run them at a British meeting, “providing they comply with the relevant rules”.

An earlier statement had read: “The BHA is appalled by the image that appeared this weekend. We expect all those in our sport to demonstrate respect for horses, on the racecourse, in the training yard, on the gallops, and wherever they have horses in their care.

“People who work in our industry believe their values – of caring for and respecting our horses – have been deeply undermined by this behaviour. On their behalf, and on behalf of all horse lovers, we say loudly that British horseracing finds this totally unacceptable.

“The BHA is considering its own regulatory options, recognising that the Irish authorities license Mr Elliott and are carrying out their own investigation.”

Horse Racing Ireland, the national authority for thoroughbred racing in Ireland, echoed those sentiments, saying the picture was a “disservice” to people in racing.

A statement said: “Horse Racing Ireland unreservedly condemns the disturbing photograph that appeared on social media at the weekend.

“This image does not reflect the care, attention and respect that race horses receive, and does a disservice to the thousands of people who look after their horses on a daily basis. Horse Racing Ireland notes and supports the IHRB investigation into the circumstances around the photograph.

“From a disciplinary perspective, the matter is in process, so any further comment on the matter or the detail of the case at this time would not be appropriate.”

Black Tears was a winner at Punchestown on Monday for Elliott
Black Tears was a winner at Punchestown on Monday for Elliott (Niall Carson/PA)

The IHRB is hoping for a speedy resolution to the case, with a spokesman adding: “As is the case with all investigations carried out by the IHRB, there is a process that must be followed – and that will be the case in this instance.

“As stated over the weekend, this will be dealt with as quickly as possible.”

Despite the controversy, it was business as usual for Elliott on the racecourse at least, as he sent out Black Tears to win the Grade Three Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown – while Papal Lodge, Coach Carter and Mighty Potter were also on the mark for the Cullentra team.

Tiger Roll 2019 Grand National Winners Parade
Michael O’Leary will continue to support Elliott (Brian Lawless/PA)

Elliott also received a boost as Gigginstown House Stud owner Michael O’Leary confirmed his team – including dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll – would be going nowhere, opting to accept an apology for a “grievous but momentary lapse of judgement from Gordon”.

Cheveley Park Stud, who count hot Cheltenham Festival favourite Envoi Allen among their Elliott string, said they were “truly horrified and dismayed by the photograph”, but will wait for the IHRB investigation to conclude before making any decisions on the future.

Sire Du Berlais is prominent in the betting for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Festival. Frank Berry, racing manager for his owner JP McManus, declined to comment on the situation when contacted on Monday morning.

But online bookmakers Betfair – for whom Elliott has been an ambassador for several years – made a swift decision to cut ties with the trainer.

A statement read: “While we recognise that Gordon deeply regrets and apologised unreservedly for his poor judgement, his actions are completely at odds with the values of the Betfair brand and that of our employees.

“With that in mind, we have decided to discontinue our association with Gordon with immediate effect.”

The four-day Cheltenham Festival is due to get under way on March 16.

British and Irish racing authorities condemn Elliott image

Racing authorities in Britain and Ireland have condemned the image of Grand National-winning trainer Gordon Elliott which circulated on social media over the weekend.

In a statement issued late on Sunday evening, Elliott confirmed the image, which showed him sitting on a dead horse, was genuine and apologised “profoundly for any offence that this photo has caused”, while seeking to explain what he said was the context of events that led to the picture.

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board has already launched a full investigation – and while Elliott is licensed in Ireland, the British Horseracing Authority is “considering its own regulatory options”, saying it is “appalled” by the image.

A statement read: “The BHA is appalled by the image that appeared this weekend. We expect all those in our sport to demonstrate respect for horses, on the racecourse, in the training yard, on the gallops, and wherever they have horses in their care.

“People who work in our industry believe their values – of caring for and respecting our horses – have been deeply undermined by this behaviour. On their behalf, and on behalf of all horse lovers, we say loudly that British horseracing finds this totally unacceptable.

“The BHA is considering its own regulatory options, recognising that the Irish authorities license Mr Elliott and are carrying out their own investigation.”

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Horse Racing Ireland, the national authority for thoroughbred racing in Ireland, echoed those sentiments, saying the picture was a “disservice” to people in racing.

A statement said: “Horse Racing Ireland unreservedly condemns the disturbing photograph that appeared on social media at the weekend.

“This image does not reflect the care, attention and respect that race horses receive, and does a disservice to the thousands of people who look after their horses on a daily basis. Horse Racing Ireland notes and supports the IHRB investigation into the circumstances around the photograph.

“From a disciplinary perspective, the matter is in process, so any further comment on the matter or the detail of the case at this time would not be appropriate.”

Black Tears was a winner at Punchestown on Monday for Elliott
Black Tears was a winner at Punchestown on Monday for Elliott (Niall Carson/PA)

The IHRB is hoping for a speedy resolution to the case, with a spokesman adding: “As is the case with all investigations carried out by the IHRB, there is a process that must be followed – and that will be the case in this instance.

“As stated over the weekend, this will be dealt with as quickly as possible.”

Despite the controversy, it was business as usual for Elliott on the racecourse at least, as he sent out Black Tears to win the Grade Three Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown – while Papal Lodge, Coach Carter and Mighty Potter were also on the mark for the Cullentra team.

Tiger Roll 2019 Grand National Winners Parade
Michael O’Leary will continue to support Elliott (Brian Lawless/PA)

Elliott also received a boost as Gigginstown House Stud owner Michael O’Leary confirmed his team – including dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll – would be going nowhere, opting to accept an apology for a “grievous but momentary lapse of judgement from Gordon”.

Cheveley Park Stud, who count hot Cheltenham Festival favourite Envoi Allen among their Elliott string, said they were “truly horrified and dismayed by the photograph”, but will wait for the IHRB investigation to conclude before making any decisions on the future.

Sire Du Berlais is prominent in the betting for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Festival. Frank Berry, racing manager for his owner JP McManus, declined to comment on the situation when contacted on Monday morning.

But online bookmakers Betfair – for whom Elliott has been an ambassador for several years – made a swift decision to cut ties with the trainer.

A statement read: “While we recognise that Gordon deeply regrets and apologised unreservedly for his poor judgement, his actions are completely at odds with the values of the Betfair brand and that of our employees.

“With that in mind, we have decided to discontinue our association with Gordon with immediate effect.”

Betfair breaks ties with Gordon Elliott following social media post

Betfair has discontinued its association with Gordon Elliott with immediate effect following the release of an image of the Grand National-winning trainer on social media.

The image, posted and widely shared on Twitter on Saturday, shows Elliott sitting on a dead horse on the gallops.

After many voiced initial doubts on social media about the authenticity of the photograph, the County Meath trainer issued a statement late on Sunday evening confirming it was in fact genuine.

In his statement, Elliott said he “cannot apologise enough”, and that he wanted to “apologise profoundly for any offence that this photo has caused”, while seeking to explain the context of events that led to the picture.

The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board has launched a full investigation, and on Monday morning Betfair – for whom Elliott has been an ambassador for several years – confirmed that it was to cut ties with the trainer.

The statement read: “While we recognise that Gordon deeply regrets and apologised unreservedly for his poor judgement, his actions are completely at odds with the values of the Betfair brand and that of our employees.

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“With that in mind, we have decided to discontinue our association with Gordon with immediate effect.”

The IHRB stated on Saturday evening it was aware of the image and those inquiries are ongoing, with the authority working towards a swift resolution.

A spokesman said on Monday morning: “As is the case with all investigations carried out by the IHRB, there is a process that must be followed – and that will be the case in this instance.

“As stated over the weekend, this will be dealt with as quickly as possible.”

Elliott with his dual National hero Tiger Roll in 2019
Elliott with his dual National hero Tiger Roll in 2019 (Brian Lawless/PA)

While Elliott is licensed in Ireland, the British Horseracing Authority is “considering its own regulatory options”, saying it is “appalled” by the image.

A statement read: “The BHA is appalled by the image that appeared this weekend. We expect all those in our sport to demonstrate respect for horses, on the racecourse, in the training yard, on the gallops, and wherever they have horses in their care.

“People who work in our industry believe their values – of caring for and respecting our horses – have been deeply undermined by this behaviour. On their behalf, and on behalf of all horse lovers, we say loudly that British horseracing finds this totally unacceptable.

“The BHA is considering its own regulatory options, recognising that the Irish authorities license Mr Elliott and are carrying out their own investigation.”

Elliott is a three-time Grand National winner, having sent out Silver Birch to claim the Aintree prize before Tiger Roll became the first back-to-back winner of the race since Red Rum when lifting the world-famous event in 2018 and 2019.

The 42-year-old also counts 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Don Cossack among the best horses he has trained, with 32 Cheltenham Festival wins to his name so far.

Elliott houses a number of favourites for this year’s Festival, including Envoi Allen and Zanahiyr, while Tiger Roll himself is also due to run in the Glenfarclas Chase over Cheltenham’s cross-country fences.

Sire Du Berlais is prominent in the betting for the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Festival. Frank Berry, racing manager for his owner JP McManus, declined to comment on the situation when contacted on Monday morning.

Lostintranslation and Bristol De Mai poised for Betfair rematch

Last year’s one-two Lostintranslation and Bristol De Mai are among 10 entries for the Betfair Chase at Haydock on November 21.

The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained Bristol De Mai claimed the Grade One prize in both 2017 and 2018, but was denied the hat-trick by Colin Tizzard’s Lostintranslation 12 months ago.

Lostintranslation disappointed when well fancied for the King George VI Chase at Kempton, but bounced back to finish a close-up third in the Cheltenham Gold Cup – and the race sponsors make him the narrow favourite to successfully defend his Haydock crown.

Bristol De Mai was only ninth in the Gold Cup, but can be expected to be more of a force back on Merseyside.

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Nicky Henderson has entered his Gold Cup runner-up Santini, while Paul Nicholls has both dual King George hero Clan Des Obeaux and Topofthegame in contention.

Clan Des Obeaux was fourth in the 2018 Betfair Chase and is on course for a return to Haydock, with long-absent stablemate Topofthegame expected to instead head for the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury the following week.

Nicholls said: “Clan Des Obeaux is in great form at home and will head for the Betfair Chase.

“Physically, he seems to have improved on years past. He is working hard and is on well schedule for Haydock.

Clan Des Obeaux is an intended runner in the Betfair Chase
Clan Des Obeaux is an intended runner in the Betfair Chase (Steven Paston/PA)

“Two years ago, we went to the Betfair Chase just to put our toe in the water to see if he could run in graded races and he ran a really good race. He then went on to win the King George.

“He will be ready to put up a good performance at Haydock – there is no point going there thinking he is going to need the run. He will be ready and then that is nice timing for him to go to Kempton again on Boxing Day.”

The Richard Hobson-trained Lord Du Mesnil will be an outsider, but is a dual winner at the track.

Saint Calvados is also in the mix
Saint Calvados is also in the mix (David Davies/PA)

“Lord Du Mesnil is in good form and the Betfair Chase is a possibility,” said Hobson.

“I haven’t been able to get a run into him yet this season. He has got some entries over the weekend, but we are yet to decide if he will run.

“The Betfair Chase may therefore come too quick, but he is entered and we will make a decision nearer the time.”

Bellshill (Sandy Thompson), Keeper Hill (Warren Greatrex) and Saint Calvados (Harry Whittington) are the other British contenders, with Henry de Bromhead’s A Plus Tard the sole Irish-trained entrant.