Ballymore still the target for ‘terrific’ Samcro


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The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle over two-and-a-half miles at next month’s Cheltenham Festival remains very much front and centre in plans for the exciting Samcro.

The Gordon Elliott-trained Samcro is unbeaten in five career starts under rules, winning three bumpers last season and making a flawless start over timber this term.

He appears to have massive potential and has been setting tongues wagging for much of the winter.

Having started his jumping career over two miles at Punchestown in October, Samcro then won over a half-mile further at Navan in November.

He heads for the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown on Sunday and is widely tipped to land the first Grade 1 success of his career.

The six-year-old gelding by Germany is reported to be in “terrific form” ahead of his run at the Dublin Racing Festival, with Gigginstown racing manager Eddie O’Leary happy to let him do his own talking on the track.

“He hasn’t been out for a while but is in terrific form. The two-mile trip should suit him well and he’s a very nice horse we like a lot,” said O’Leary.

“But at this stage we just want to let the horse do the talking and hopefully he can do that.”

Despite dropping back to minimum trip on Sunday, O’Leary has reassured Samcro supporters the Ballymore is still the main target at Cheltenham and he is a 2.75 favourite to win that Festival race on March 14.

O’Leary added: “All Cheltenham options are open for him still but he’s likely to step up in trip for the Ballymore after this.”

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