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Espoir D’Allen shock winner of the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival

• Outsider makes light work of testing conditions
• Reigning champion hurdler Buveur D’Air falls

Espoir D’Allen was a surprising but emphatic winner of a drama-filled Champion Hurdle in which Buveur D’Air, winner for the last two years, was an early faller. The outcome is a breakthrough first Festival success for the County Meath-based Gavin Cromwell, a blacksmith by trade whose sideline in training has gradually taken over his life.

“I was behind Barry [Geraghty, Buveur D’Air’s jockey] when he fell,” said the winning rider, Mark Walsh. “Luckily, I wasn’t in his way. I was travelling everywhere. It’s unbelievable.

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