Thursday 15 November 2018

Champion bid keeps Samcro eyes on hurdles

Elliott:
Elliott: "He was bought as a future chaser and hopefully we will see him over fences in the future but this season he will be staying over hurdles." Photo: Patrick McCann/Racing Post

Michael Verney

Samcro will continue his racing career over hurdles this Friday at Down Royal after Gordon Elliott revealed that he will prepare Gigginstown's superstar for a tilt at the 2019 Champion Hurdle.

Unbeaten in his seven completed starts having oozed class when coasting to Cheltenham Festival success in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle last March, a career over fences had been heavily mooted by owner Michael O'Leary.

Those plans have been shelved as Elliott and O'Leary bid to land their first Champion Hurdle with Samcro before making a bold bid over the larger obstacles.

"We hope that he can develop into a Champion Hurdle contender. I've never had a Champion Hurdle horse before and Gigginstown have yet to win it and we thought that it was worth giving Samcro a shot at that race," Elliott wrote in his Betfair blog.

"He was bought as a future chaser and hopefully we will see him over fences in the future but this season he will be staying over hurdles. I'm under no illusions about the challenge that he faces.

"But he was a top-class novice hurdler last season and he's done absolutely everything that we have asked of him so far and I'm hoping that there's more to come."

His first test comes in the Grade Two WKD Hurdle where he could meet stablemate and Punchestown Grade One winner Dortmund Park and Galway Hurdle victor Sharjah.

Elsewhere, Mark Bradstock's 2015 Gold Cup winner Coneygree is only likely to return at Down Royal this weekend if there is an ease in ground conditions.

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