Elliott insists Samcro has Fighting chance
Gordon Elliott insists there will be no excuses for Samcro in tomorrow's Fighting Fifth Hurdle should he not get the better of Nicky Henderson's Buveur D'Air.
Elliott outlined that there will be no U-turn on his decision to stay over hurdles this season regardless of the result in the Grade One at Newcastle after his exciting six-year-old enjoyed a smooth passage across the Irish Sea yesterday.
"I couldn't be happier with the horse, he's come out of Down Royal very well. He did a lovely bit of work in Tipperary last week and had a nice blow earlier this week. There's no excuses now and this is probably like a Champion Hurdle," Elliott said.
"Buveur D'Air is probably going to have as hard a race as he's had in his last two Champion Hurdles. Mick Jazz was beaten three lengths in this year's Champion Hurdle and he wouldn't get near Samcro.
"That's not saying Samcro is good enough but there'll be no excuses. The gloss is taken off the horse after he got beaten the last day so he has to go and prove himself now but I haven't had many horses like him."
The presence of Tom George's Supreme winner Summerville Boy adds further intrigue while Samcro's Down Royal conqueror Bedrock is also among the six-strong field.
There will be no Irish representation in Newbury's Ladbrokes Trophy tomorrow, however, after Willie Mullins' Kemboy encountered travel problems and was unable to make the trip across the water yesterday.
The six-year-old was one of the leading fancies (5/1 co-favoutite) after a smooth Clonmel Oil Chase success but with his ferry cancelled and delays possible for later ferries, plans were abandoned.
Elsewhere, veteran Kildare trainer Frank Oakes - a 77-year-old who has three horses in his care and rides out twice daily - starred at Thurles yesterday with Mountain Fox (25/1) springing a surprise for Ricky Doyle in the Holycross Maiden Hurdle.