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Dublin: 5 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019

Samcro a possible runner in Stayers at Cheltenham

The Gordon Elliott-trained seven-year-old was found to have a deep-rooted lung infection.

Jack Kennedy with Samcro.
Jack Kennedy with Samcro.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

SAMCRO, WHO STARTED his season with the Champion Hurdle as his target before fluffing his lines on a few occasions, could turn up at Cheltenham after all despite being described by connections last month as “very doubtful” for the Festival.

Found to have a deep-rooted lung infection after disappointing in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown in December, the Gordon Elliott-trained seven-year-old is entered for the Sun Racing Stayers Hurdle for which he is a top-priced 9-1 but generally a 6-1 shot.

Elliott said on Sunday: “Samcro has recovered from his infection. The vets are happy with him and he’s working away. We’re pleased with him so far.

“He’ll probably work again towards the end of this week and we’ll see how things go before making plans. If he goes to Cheltenham it will be for the Stayers Hurdle and if we decide against sending him there then we’ll have the Grade 1 two and a half mile hurdle at Aintree and the Punchestown festival to consider. 

“They are the options depending on how he is. If we’re not entirely happy with him then we’ll leave him alone until next season when he’ll go chasing.”

Samcro has not won since landing the Ballymore Novices Hurdle at the Festival last year. He fell three out in the BETDAQ Champion Hurdle at Punchestown in April and was surprisingly beaten by Bedrock on his seasonal reappearance at Down Royal in November before clashing with Buveur D’Air in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle in which he was beaten eight lengths by the dual champion.

- Brian Fleming

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