Samcro Could Still Return At Cheltenham

Gordon Elliott's superstar novice hurdler of last season Samcro has been very disappointing this season and was thought to not race again but his trainer has not ruled out a return to the track.

The seven year old owned by Gigginstown House Stud was primed this season to head to the Cheltenham Festival and take on dual Champion Hurdler Buveur D'Air but after three poor runs this season it didn't look likely.

It was thought that Elliott would keep him at home for the rest of the year and look ahead to maybe go chasing next season but it has emerged that all might not be lost for this season as he still holds all his entries for the festival in March.

Samcro this season failed to pick up from where he left off last year when finishing a weak second on his seasonal debut at Down Royal and losing his unbeaten record when he finishes a race.

He then took on Buveur D'Air in there first ever meeting at Newcastle in the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth and the Nicky Henderson gelding showed his quality and blew Samcro out the water.

His third and last run to date so far this season saw him tailed off in a hot Grade 1 in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown over the Christmas period where it was revealed after the race by the owners’ spokesman Eddie O’Leary announced a ‘very, very deep lung infection’ had been discovered.

With these less than impressive performances and his unfortunate setback if was thought that the superstar of last season would not be seen again this term but this might not be the case with his trainer keeping us on the edge of our seats.

(Credit Racing TV

He could still venture to the Cheltenham Festival where he was successful in the Grade 1 Ballymore Novices Hurdle, but he could also be seen at Aintree or Punchestown if missing a visit to Prestbury Park in March.

(Credit Sky Sports Racing) Elliott said: "Touch wood, he’s very good. He’s back in full work.

“He’ll do a bit of work at the end of this week, and we’ll see where we’re going. But I’m very happy with him.”

Asked if he if he was not ruling out him going to the festival he said: “Definitely not.

“We kept him in all the races at Cheltenham. Obviously, he’s in the Champion and still in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.”

Gigginstown and Elliott look to have sured up there number one contender for the Champion Hurdle this season with super mare Apple's Jade arguably the one to beat in that contest.

Elliott added some words on Samcro's festival challenge and said: “It’s not a definite no-no at the moment – we’ll see how the next couple of weeks go. But if not, we’ve got the Aintree Hurdle and Punchestown.

“The next 10 days will tell us.

“We’ve no target for him yet, but I’ve a couple of little things in my head – and I’ll see how the next couple of weeks go.”