Run at Down Royal a sign of Samcro’s sad lot

Former Cheltenham star has not lived up to hype and could be pipped here by Agusta Gold

The original script surrounding Samcro didn’t include lining up at Down Royal on St Patrick’s Day but it’s where the horse once billed as Irish racing’s “next big thing” runs on Thursday.

Horses with a pair of Cheltenham Festival victories on their CV normally don't get filed under disappointing but that's Samcro's sad lot.

It's in the context of a ridiculous level of hype that accompanied his novice career which even had a desperate Michael O'Leary at one point reminding everyone the horse wasn't Jesus Christ.

Practically no horse could live up to such expectation and since those halcyon days of winning the Ballymore at Cheltenham in 2018 his reputation has been on the slide.


On his 25th career start he now goes the longest distance he has ever tackled in a €15,500 conditions chase at a St Patrick’s Day fixture in the north dwarfed by Cheltenham’s festival action.

Sam Ewing rides for the first time in a five-runner contest that also includes Willie Mullins's mare, Agusta Gold who could relish the trip and the soft ground more.

Robert Tyner, who trains near Kinsale in Co Cork, takes four runners to the other end of the country and testing conditions could suit Womalko down to the ground.

The JP McManus-owned runner is 12lb higher in the ratings than in a Christmas victory at Limerick but still gets a stone from the highly-rated O'Toole.

Big Debates could also make the long trip from Cork worthwhile in a later novice chase.

Down Royal: 1.55 – Percival Legallois 2.35 – Mise Raftaire 3.15 – Womalko (Nap) 3.55 – Big Debates 4.35 – Agusta Gold 5.15 – Er Dancer 5.50 – Henning

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column