Samcro chasing redemption on comeback
The much-touted Samcro will face six rivals today when he makes his eagerly-anticipated debut over fences at Down Royal.
The star novice hurdler of two seasons ago, Samcro's connections considered commencing his career over the larger obstacles last year - but ultimately elected to go down the Champion Hurdle route.
It proved a disappointing campaign as he suffered a shock defeat in the WKD Hurdle on this card 12 months ago, proved no match for Buveur D'Air in the Fighting Fifth and then could finish only fifth at Leopardstown over Christmas.
Samcro missed the remainder of the campaign after being diagnosed with a lung infection, but will be widely expected to make a successful return in the beginners chase - a race his trainer Gordon Elliott won last season with the classy Delta Work.
With Samcro's regular partner Jack Kennedy sidelined by injury, Keith Donoghue will ride Samcro for the first time on the racecourse. Samcro is one of two runners for Elliott and owners Gigginstown, with Mark Enright booked for stablemate Dortmund Park.
Elliott - who had a short-priced double at Clonmel yesterday - should also be on the mark in the featured WKD Hurdle with course and distance winner Coeur Sublime expected to oblige in the hands of Russell with stablemate Coko Beach (in the colours of Gigginstown) looking the main danger.
Across at Lingfield yesterday, Aidan O'Brien was on the mark in a Listed contest as Delphinia came from an unpromising position to snatch victory in the River Eden Fillies' Stakes.
The daughter of Galileo was sent off the 4/6 favourite for the one-mile-five-furlong contest, after finishing runner-up in Group One races on her last two starts. However, victory seemed unlikely when she entered the straight in mid-pack, after being stuck in traffic.
She had plenty to do even a furlong out, but once she hit top gear Delphinia quickly reeled in the opposition under Seamie Heffernan- scoring by three-parts of a length from Hameem.
"Delphinia's class got me out of trouble," said a relieved Heffernan.
Heffernan and O'Brien initiated a double when King Of Athens (15/8 favourite) lost his maiden tag by making all in the novice stakes over seven furlongs.