Cheltenham Festival 2019: Espoir D'Allen causes a 16-1 upset in dramatic Champion Hurdle

Gavin Cromwell's emerging star won by a wide-margin as the big three in the betting flopped.

All the focus pre-race had been on defending champion Buveur D'Air (11-4) and the two brilliant mares Apple's Jade (7-4f) and Laurina (5-2).

But the two-time champion Buveur D'Air fell early in the race and Apple's Jade checked out tamely at the top of the hill.

Laurina was still travelling well two out, but the eye was drawn to Espoir D'Allen, who crept into contention under an ice-cool Mark Walsh.

Ruby Walsh sent out distress signals aboard Laurina turning in and she was quickly left behind by Espoir D'Allen, who streaked clear to win by 15 lengths.


The front-running Melon (20-1) held on well for second spot from rank outsider Silver Streak (80-1).

A shocked Cromwell said: "I'm just lost for words. It's brilliant, unbelievable.

"He's been winning Grade 3s this year, so to win this is fantastic. I'm shell-shocked to win anyway, but to win like that – I'm just lost for words.

"When Buveur D'Air fell, we nearly got brought down. It's unbelievable, I'm completely lost for words."

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