Samcro beats Black Op in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
Image supplied by HRI: Copyright Grossick Racing Photography

An intriguing twist emerged to the national hunt season, as trainer Gordon Elliott refused to rule out a return to the racetrack for Samcro this spring.

The seven-year-old had been a superstar last season, with connections plotting a campaign towards this March’s Champion Hurdle.

But the gelding ran in lack lustre fashion on all three starts before Gigginstown spokesman Eddie O’Leary announced a ‘very, very deep lung infection’ had been discovered.

Connections suggested that they would draw stumps on the remainder of this campaign, but Elliott has left the door open.

“Touch wood, he’s very good. He’s back in full work,” the top Irish trainer told Sky Sports Racing.

“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 is therefore not ruling out the possibility of Samcro returning to the Festival, a year after winning the Grade One Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle there, Elliott 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.”