Gordon Elliott rules Samcro out of Cheltenham Festival
Last year’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner ruled out of Champion Hurdle
Samcro and jockey Jack Kennedy after winning the the Ballymore Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2018. The Gordon Elliott-trained horse will miss this year’s festival. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Samcro will not run at the Cheltenham Festival next week, trainer Gordon Elliott has announced.
The Gigginstown House Stud-owned seven-year-old looked every inch a superstar in the making when living up to the hype in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle 12 months ago, but things have not gone to plan since.
He fell at Punchestown following Cheltenham, and while connections opted to give him a Champion Hurdle campaign this season, he has met with defeat in three outings to date, most recently in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown.
He was found to be suffering from a lung infection subsequent to that Leopardstown run over Christmas and plans for the rest of the season were put on hold as a result.
Bulletins had been much more upbeat in recent weeks, but will be given more time before returning to action.
Elliott said in his blog for Betfair: “Unfortunately we are going to have to skip Cheltenham with Samcro. He’s in very good form and I am pleased with how he has been doing in his work over the last few weeks.
“However, Cheltenham is just going to come a week or two too soon.
“At the best of times you’ve got to be absolutely spot on for Cheltenham and while Samcro is in very good shape myself, Michael and Eddie [O’Leary] feel that the right thing to do by horse is to give him more time.”
“There is every chance that Samcro could run again this season and there are a range of suitable races for him at those meetings so hopefully we will see him back in action next month.”
Samcro has long seen as a potential star over fences and Elliott confirmed he will go chasing next season. “Looking further ahead, we are looking forward to when he goes chasing in the autumn.”