Samcro's Lung Infection Recovery Sparks Cheltenham Renewal

Superstar hurdler of last season Samcro could be set to return at the Cheltenham Festival after his trainer Gordon Elliott said it would be "very doubtful" just a month ago.

This early reappearance from the seven year old Gigginstown owned hurdler is due to his lung infection which is thought to be the main reason for his disappointing runs this season, but this has now cleared up.

It looked a lost cause to get Samcro to Cheltenham this season but with now just over three weeks to go it looks even more likely he will be going and sent to the Stayers Hurdle on the Thursday, which is a race Gigginstown have never won.

At most betting firms the Grade 1 winner has been nudged into 6/1 to take the black type contest over three miles which will see him be stepped up in trip to three miles for the first time in his career.

The sky was the limit for Samcro at the start of this season with the Champion Hurdle the race he was being targeted at but after disappointing on his seasonal return at Down Royal, finishing a weak second to Bedrock and then Getting smashed again at Newcastle to Buveur D'Air Elliott had to have a serious think about where to go next.

His last run which finally put the last nail in the coffin for his Champion Hurdle dream was when finishing a strange fifth in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown over Christmas.

This sparked the enquiry into the horses health because this seven year old was the best novice hurdler around last season and had looked a shadow of his former self.

It was then revealed he had been suffering with a serious lung infection which would have been the reason for his below par races.

(Credit Racing Post) His trainer Gordon Elliott said: "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."

Elliott added: "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 his sterling Ballymore Novices Performance that saw him land the Grade 1 in style but if he could go back to jumps racing HQ and land the spoils in the Stayers Hurdle it would be one of the training moments of the season.