Gavin Cromwell laments injury to Champion Hurdle winner Espoir D'Allen as a 'massive blow'
Gavin Cromwell has suffered a "massive blow" with news that reigning Champion Hurdle hero Espoir D'Allen could be out for the upcoming jumps season due to injury.
An accident on Cromwell's Meath gallops last week has left the five-year-old – a scintillating winner of the hurdling showpiece at this year's Cheltenham Festival – in danger of spending this season in the stables.
JP McManus's star hurdler – which only returned from his summer break in recent weeks – is reported to be "very lame and sore" and currently undergoing tests in Fethard Equine Hospital to assess the the injury to his shoulder.
"Last Thursday he had done a little canter and coming back in off the gallop he got spooked, reared up and fell over," Cromwell told the Racing Post.
"He is in Fethard Equine Hospital and we still haven't found what's wrong with him.
"It looks like he is going to be out for the season. He got a slap off the ground and the issue seems to be around his shoulder, but they are still trying to pin it down.
"He is very lame and sore on his right front side and he hasn't improved since he went down there.
"They are still doing tests on him to try and find the problem and the vets don't seem very optimistic of him making a speedy recovery. It's a massive blow for everybody in the yard.
"Espoir D'Allen had been as low as 3/1 ante-post favourite to retain his Cheltenham crown next March but it looks like his chances of a return to the racetrack this year are slim at present."