Three Novice Chasers To Follow This Season

Samcro

Samcro is a very well known exploit out of Gordon Elliott's yard and two seasons ago was a superstar hurdler that was being set up for great things in the future.

The gelding started his career by winning a point to point and then landing three bumper contests in a row that laid out his ability and what potential he had.

At the start of 2017 he went hurdling for the first time making his debut at Punchestown in a 22 runner maiden where he jumped superbly and got off to a winning start.

He went from strength to strength with each run over flights winning a Grade Three contest at Navan before taking his first Grade One contest of his career at Leopardstown in a Novice event.

This lead him up to the Cheltenham festival where he was looking to land the Ballymore Novices Hurdle and take his second Grade One of his career.

He did it in style being one of the bankers of the week for many punters and not disappointing, staying up the hill nicely by close to three lengths.

From there it has all been downhill with the once superstar losing his way and looking a shadow of his former self, falling in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle at the end of the season.

He came back as a six year old and made his seasonal debut at Down Royal in a weak event where he was below par and was easily beat by a horse that had previously been running on the flat.

He took on Buveur D'Air in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle where again he was outclassed and it was weird to stay such a talent go downhill.

His season ended in the Grade One Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown when only beating one home and after that it was revealed he had suffered a lung infection and was put away for the season.

Now fully fit, much wiser and supposedly back to the form of old he is being sent novice chasing and he could just turn his career around if retaining his ability.

Champ

Nicky Henderson's Champ owned by JP McManus and named after the legend that is A P McCoy is this season going over fences after coming to life over hurdles last season.

The seven year old gelding had four run last season winning three of them and only getting beat in a thriller at the Cheltenham festival in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle.

Champ started his season at Newbury in a 15 runner Class 2 Handicap Hurdle where he looked a class above the field that included some smart runners.

He went back to Newbury for his first taste of Grade One company and stayed on the best to take the Challow Novices Hurdle and be primed for a crack at the Ballymore at the festival.

He could only manage a narrow second to Irish raider City Island who stayed on better up the hill to take the spoils but it was still a highly credible run from Henderson's horses.

He finished off his season in superb style by picking up his second Grade One over hurdles in the Doom Bar Sefton Novices Hurdle at the Grand National meeting.

Champ was bought to be a chaser over three miles and anything he did over hurdles was a bonus according to his owner and if this is the case he is seriously one to watch now over the bigger obstacles.

City Island

The final horse we believe will make an excellent novice chaser this season is the Ballymore Novice Hurdle winner City island for trainer Martin Brassil.

Last season when turning up to the Cheltenham festival he was very much an unknown entity with British punters knowing next to nothing about him and Irish punters having an idea of his talent but because he did not come from a big named trainer he was still overlooked.

Last season he had five starts winning three of them, being disqualified from his debut run when he actually went on to win the contest and then on his last start could only finish sixth at Punchestown in the Champion Novice Hurdle.

He has Grade One winning experience and being the trainers leading light he will be extremely well looked after and patiently waited on throughout the season to seeing which route he will take to the festival.

He could turn into a really smart novice chaser if picking up from his hurdling career.

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