Sunday 18 November 2018

Kennedy hopes best is still to come from Samcro

Jack Kennedy with trainer Gordon Elliott. Photo: Seb Daly/ Sportsfile
Jack Kennedy with trainer Gordon Elliott. Photo: Seb Daly/ Sportsfile

Michael Verney

Jack Kennedy expects Samcro to improve from his scintillating novice hurdling campaign when Gordon Elliott's superstar makes his seasonal debut in Down Royal's Grade Two WKD Hurdle on Friday.

Gigginstown's six-year-old shot to the head of the Champion Hurdle betting (5/2) ahead of Nicky Henderson's back-to-back winner Buveur D'Air (3/1) after confirmation that he is staying over the smaller obstacles.

Samcro's only defeat in nine career starts came following a fall when favourite in this year's Punchestown Champion Hurdle and Kennedy is excited to renew their partnership.

"I can't wait. He's a very exciting horse and it'll be nice to get back on him again. He did very well over the summer, he's after strengthening up an awful lot, hopefully he'll only be better this year," Kennedy said.

"He has loads of gears and he stays so he's a dream for a jockey to ride. He switches off lovely in his races which is a big plus and it's only a matter of asking him and he goes.

"I'm aware of his massive following. It's the same with any good horse that seems to have a lot of potential, the people tend to follow them and get a look at them in the flesh. It's brilliant for people going racing."

The 19-year-old is "100pc" fit following a shoulder injury which interrupted his summer and hopes Samcro can start the jumps season with bang en route to bigger things.

Meanwhile, Aidan O'Brien's bid for a first Breeders' Cup Classic has been boosted with Mendelssohn (9/1) given a favourable draw in stall nine for his Churchill Downs mission on Saturday night.

The impressive UAE Derby winner flopped in the Kentucky Derby in May with conditions not in his favour but better is expected this weekend while John Gosden's Roaring Lion will have to overcome a difficult inside draw in stall two if he is to cap a remarkable season with victory in the €5.3 million showpiece.

Gosden's dual Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Enable will also break from stall two in the Breeders' Cup Turf as she vies to become the first horse to win at the Breeders' Cup in the same year as success in the Arc.

Elsewhere, champion jumps trainer Willie Mullins has 15 of the 41 remaining entries for the €100,000 November Handicap at Naas on Sunday as he looks to finish the Flat season with yet another lucrative prize.

Limini and Grade One-winning hurdler Whiskey Sour top the weights and English Cesarewitch runner-up Uradel is another likely Closutton runner, while Mullins is also likely to send comfortable Bath winner True Self for the Listed Finale Stakes.

Irish Independent

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