GAVIN CROMWELL BLOG: Grade-1 winning National Hunt & Flat trainer Gavin Cromwell reflects on the equine flu break out last week, a win at one of his local tracks, and gives an update on Espoir D’Allen.

Equine Influenza

It’s been a frustrating few days for connections across the Irish Sea with racing being cancelled because of the equine flu outbreak and in my opinion, it was all a bit of an overreaction. As trainers, we are constantly in a fight to prevent these flu like symptoms from entering our yard and it’s nothing new.

I thought the BHA were wrong to stop racing. It all seems a bit of a storm in a teacup to me, but in any case, the ban has now been lifted now so hopefully we can all move on from it.

A win at Fairyhouse

Quantatmental got the job done nicely at Fairyhouse on Wednesday. I was pleased with his first run for us back in December when he finished fourth in a maiden hurdle but his two runs following that were slightly disappointing. In the last few weeks, he’s looked himself again and he showed that on Wednesday.

The plan is to enter him in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham and on good ground, he could be a good each-way chance. If he keeps improving, then he’d definitely be one of my better chances of a winner over the week.

Quiet few days ahead

The only entry we’ve got this weekend is Earl Of Bunnacurry in the handicap hurdle (2.55pm) at Navan. This will be his first time in a handicap so we don’t know what to expect but he’s shown promise before with a couple of wins on the Flat so we hope he can transfer that form over hurdles.

He’s not the most straightforward and takes quite a keen hold in his races but we’re hopeful he can put in a nice performance.

Espoir D’Allen

Espoir D’Allen is coming along nicely and I’m training him towards the Champion Hurdle. Whether he runs or not is very much down to JP McManus and Frank Berry and I’m sure a decision will be made closer to the time.

He’s still just a five-year-old so it wouldn’t worry me if he doesn’t go to Cheltenham this year. If we don’t turn up there, we’ve got both Aintree and Punchestown to target as well as the Grade 2 at Fairyhouse.

It’s shaping up to be a very good race with the likes of Buveur D’Air and Apple’s Jade, but he’d definitely shown he’s top-class and he isn’t out of place in Grade 1s.

I get asked a lot whether he’s the best I’ve had and I think I’d have to say he is. Jer’s Girl was a terrific mare for me with two Grade 1 wins, but Espoir D’Allen is such an exciting horse and given he’s already surpassed her ratings wise, I’d have to say he’s probably the best.

He’s already won seven for me and given he’s still just five, his future looks so bright. We’re very lucky to have him in the yard.