Gordon Elliott’s exciting prospect Samcro is set to be kept to novice company this season despite being entered in the BHP Irish Champion Hurdle.
The unbeaten six-year-old will instead run in the Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle at the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival, taking place at Leopardstown on February 3 and 4.
Samcro took part in a public gallop at the track on Tuesday morning.
“I was speaking to Gordon this morning and he said he was leaning toward this race (Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle) with Samcro,” said Davy Condon, Elliott’s assistant.
“He did a nice bit of work this morning over a mile and a half and he seems in really good form.
“He didn’t run the last day because of a dirty scope, but he worked very well this morning and Shane McCann, who rides him everyday, was happy with him.
“He’ll definitely stay to the novice route this season and he’s going to try him over the two-six trip.”
Elliott will instead run Mick Jazz in the feature after he took advantage of Faugheen’s poor run in the Ryanair Hurdle at Christmas.
“He came out of the race well. When Faugheen pulled up, it obviously left it wide open and left him and Willie’s (Mullins) other horse (Cilaos Emery) in a battle – there wasn’t much between them,” said Condon.
“He’s a good, genuine horse, tries his best, and you’d be hoping for the same result again if something else happened.”
Buveur D’Air and Defi Du Seuil are possible opponents for Faugheen, although Nicky Henderson has indicated Sandown’s Contenders Hurdle is a more likely target for the current champion Buveur D’Air.
There are 17 entries, including the likes of Melon and Yorkhill for Mullins, while Jessica Harrington is likely to run both Supasundae and Jezki, with the trainer hoping a run over two miles will sharpen Supasundae up for the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.
“His main aim is the three-mile race at Cheltenham. He’s a horse that loves good ground and I don’t really want to bottom him out running over two and a half or three miles on heavy ground that he doesn’t like , so we thought we’d bring him back to two miles here,” she said.
Of Jezki, she added: “He’ll most likely run here. He’s not entered in the three-mile race at Cheltenham and will wait for Aintree and Punchestown, hopefully on better ground.”