Elliott Eyes Fighting Fifth For Samcro After Morgiana Drop Out

Gigginstown's leading hurdler of last season will have to wait a little longer to put right his bad start to the season after being pulled out of the Grade 1 Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown just over an hour before the race was set to take place.

Samcro was declared a non runner after his connections saw the ground as being too quick for the six year old and leaving the Punchestown punters disappointed they were not going to see the market favourite at the time.

His trainer Gordon Elliott had speculated all week that if the ground was to good he would be pulled out but he waited until the first hurdle race of the day took place on the Sunday to make his move and at 12.46, just minutes after that race and a discussion with jockey Davy Russell he withdrew him.

This saw the Gigginstown leading trainer have a meeting with the stewards on the course as to why he was pulled out so late but they took his reasoning and accepted that the mild, sunny conditions had not helped the drying of the track.

The unusual dry spell that we had during the Autumn is showing that it is still taking its toll on jumps racing, with a lot of the big guns from last season still yet to reappear. Punchestown were very reluctant to put too much water on the track incase it affected the horses when going tight round the corners and slipping.

The going on the day was officially good, good to yielding in places, this also saw the withdrawal of the Jessica Harrington trained Supasundae which saw a contest of heavyweight Grade 1 winning hurdlers reduced down to a less impressive four runner race.


(Credit Racing Post) Gordon Elliott said: “We walked the course yesterday and walked it again today.

“They have done a great job with it in fairness as they have put a nice bit of water on it, and I’d love to have been able to run him, but for me it was just too quick going down the hill. There’s no point taking a chance – Samcro is too good a horse.”

The next step for this great horse looks to be the 2 mile Fighting Fifth at Newcastle at the start of December or if missing that, on the Sunday after that there is the Hatton Grace at Fairyhouse over half a mile longer, which could see stablemate Apple's Jade also take part.

Elliott added: "He is in the Hatton’s Grace and he is in the Fighting Fifth.

"Obviously, I will have to talk to Michael and Eddie O’Leary and see but he will probably go for one or the other."

The jockey who was supposed to be in the saddle on Supasundae, Robbie Power backed up Elliott's statement and was disappointed about the ground which saw his horse unable to take part.

(Credit Racing Post) Power said: "We fully intended to run him as he needs to get his season started, but it just felt a bit quick for him for his first run of the season.

"The Hatton's Grace is only a fortnight away, so hopefully the rain will come and he can start off there."