Samcro gives latest glimpse of the future in Navan demolition
Five-year-old delivers another impressive run for Jack Kennedy and Gordon Elliott
Samcro and Jack Kennedy jump the last at Navan. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA
Samcro extended his unbeaten record with a dominant display in the “Monksfield” Novice Hurdle at Navan.
Trainer Gordon Elliott has made no secret of the regard in which he holds the five-year-old, who was snapped up for £335,000 by Gigginstown House Stud after winning his only point-to-point.
Having won each of his three bumpers last season before making a successful hurdling debut at Punchestown in October, he was a prohibitively-priced 1-4 favourite stepped up to Grade Three level and the result was scarcely in doubt.
Jack Kennedy cut a confident figure throughout the two-and-a-half-mile contest and only had to let out an inch of rein for Samcro to pull clear between the final two flights.
He winged the last hurdle to seal a most impressive victory over Jetz, with another Elliott inmate, Delta Work, third.
Kennedy said: “That was unreal. Everything comes naturally to him. He relaxes and jumps great. I pulled him out to give him a look at the third-last and he was gone. He just took off.
“I was fairly rattling down to the last. He’s a natural jumper. You just leave it to him, there’s no need to do anything.”
He added: “I’d say he’ll get further, but I’d probably be sticking to two-and-a-half.
“I was still in school when Don Cossack (Elliott-trained Gold Cup winner) was coming through, but I can only imagine he’s up there.”
Elliott was similarly impressed, saying: “That was a good performance and he did it very well. Jack said he gave him a bit of light at the third-last and he just took off on him.
“It was nice to see he could do that (over two and a half miles), so we have loads of options.
“I’d say he will be (better on better ground). I just said to Davy Condon at the start that the one worry I had was that it was his first time on that real heavy ground. Most good horses win on every ground and he looks a real nice one. We are lucky to have him.
“He jumped the last like he jumped a fence, but after running in point-to-points you expect that.
“I don’t know if we’ll go for Christmas, we might wait for the race in Naas (Grade One Lawlor’s Hotel Novice Hurdle). He’s obviously a horse for next year and whatever he does over hurdles will be a bonus this year.
“I thought that was a bit special what he did there, it was class.”
Al Boum Photo provided Willie Mullins with a fifth consecutive victory in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Beginners Chase.
The perennial champion trainer had won the last four renewals with Ballycasey, Vautour, Douvan and Min respectively and Grade Two-winning hurdler Al Boum Photo was the 4-5 favourite to add his name to the roll of honour on his chasing debut.
The five-year-old jumped well in the main under Paul Townend and while Tycoon Prince loomed up looking a major threat, Al Boum Photo picked up well from the final fence to score by seven lengths.
Mullins said: “It was a nice performance from a horse having his first start over fences.
“He just made one mistake that I could see. We think he was doing his best work at the end.
“I think we will have to look at two and a half miles and, especially if the ground gets better, three miles, as he has plenty of stamina.
“He’s one to look forward to.”