Gordon Elliott: ‘no excuses’ as Samcro gears up for Newcastle

Buveur D’Air and Summerville Boy also declared for a vintage Fighting Fifth Hurdle

Samcro is confirmed for Saturday’s Fighting Fifth hurdle at Newcastle. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Samcro is confirmed for Saturday’s Fighting Fifth hurdle at Newcastle. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Buveur D’Air, Samcro and Summerville Boy are set to clash in a stellar renewal of the BetVictor Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle on Saturday.

Gordon Elliott’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner Samcro had his reputation dented by the reopposing Bedrock on his seasonal return at Down Royal, but is expected to strip much fitter for this Grade One heat.

With Ladbrokes Trophy fancy Kemboy prevented from getting to Newbury from Ireland by bad weather, Elliott was able to confirm that Samcro faced no travel difficulties.

Elliott told At The Races on Thursday afternoon: “The travel is grand. Normally he would go tonight for Saturday, but we went to go this morning to be on the safe side.

“He couldn’t get on the boat this morning at Cork, but he got on the boat at 2pm so he’s on his way to Newcastle.

“I couldn’t be happier with him, he came out of his last race in great form and did a serious bit of work last week.

“There’s no big excuse now, it’s a proper test, like a Champion Hurdle. Buveur D’Air will probably have as hard a race on Saturday as he has had in his last two Champion Hurdles.

Mick Jazz (stablemate) was beaten three lengths in the Champion Hurdle last year and he wouldn’t get near Samcro. That’s not saying Samcro is good enough, but there’s no excuses.”

Samcro won at Cheltenham over two miles and five furlongs, but Elliott feels he has the speed for two miles at the highest level.

He went on: “I’m as sure as I can be he’s fast enough. The thing about this game is it’s all about opinions.

Noel Fehily and Summerville Boy win the 2018 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Noel Fehily and Summerville Boy win the 2018 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

“I think he’s good enough to be competitive in a Champion Hurdle, whether he’s good enough to win one, I’m not God Almighty and I can’t tell you that.

“The gloss was taken off him when he got beat the last day, so he has to prove it now, but I’ve not had too many horses like him. Whether he’s good enough, the talk will end on Saturday — if not there are other roads to go.”

“He won’t go chasing, he’ll stay hurdling this season.”

Dual Champion Hurdle hero and last year’s winner of this race, Buveur D’Air is unbeaten in his last 10 races, two of which came over fences.

Summerville Boy is another leading contender having won the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in March, despite flattening the final two flights.

Tom George’s charge will aim to emulate Go Native, the last horse to win the Supreme and go on to take the Fighting Fifth, while Samcro would be repeating a feat last achieved by Peddlers Cross having won the longer novice race at Cheltenham.

Bedrock bids to follow up his Grade Two success in Northern Ireland for Iain Jardine, while Colin Tizzard’s Vision Des Flos finished second in Grade Ones at Aintree and Punchestown last season.

Ben Haslam’s Bleu Et Rouge, second in the Betfair Hurdle for Willie Mullins last season, completes the field.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.