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

Gordon Elliott has admitted that he would love to aim Champion Novice Samcro at the Champion Hurdle this season.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned six-year-old had a brilliant novice hurdling campaign last season, winning his first four starts, culminating in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

He took on experienced horses in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle, but ended his season with a fall, leaving connections unsure whether to remain over the smaller obstacles or embark on a career over fences this autumn.

“It’s still up in the air at the moment, to be honest,” Elliott told his Betfair blog. “He’s in good form and cantering away. He won’t be doing a fast bit of work maybe for another month. Obviously at some stage I’ll have to sit down and talk to Michael and Eddie (O’Leary, owners) and we’ll make a decision.

“It’s a pity we didn’t stand up in Punchestown as if he’d gone and won that I’d say we’d definitely be going the Champion Hurdle route.”

Asked what his preference would be, the trainer added: “I’d love to win a Champion Hurdle, but I only train the horse, I don’t own him. I’ll have to talk to the lads and see what they want to do.

“The way he jumps a hurdle you’d say chasing is going to be his game down the road, but it’s not easy coming across a Champion Hurdle horse. I’d love to win a Champion Hurdle, that’s all I can say.”