Samcro comes of age with first Grade One victory in Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown

Samcro ran his rivals ragged in the Deloitte
Samcro ran his rivals ragged in the Deloitte

Samcro stylishly maintained his 100 per cent record in the Grade One Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown and is now odds-on for Cheltenham.

Gordon Elliott's great white hope was sent off the 4/6 favourite, despite dropping back down to two miles, but the result was never in doubt.

There was no great pace early doors as Patrick Mullins went to the front on Real Steel, but the likes of Paloma Blue and Sharjah were pulling hard.

Plenty still held a chance as the big field turned into the straight, but young jockey Jack Kennedy looked to have everything covered on the hot favourite.

Paloma Blue escaped from the pack and gave Samcro something to chase but Elliott's inmate showed plenty of gears and easily went clear by five and a half lengths.

The inexperienced Duc Des Genievres stayed on nicely to claim second for Willie Mullins, with Paloma Blue holding on for third.

Sky Bet reacted by cutting Samcro to 8/11 from 5/4 for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at Chelteham and 6/4 from 3/1 for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle - both markets are Non Runner No Bet.

Sky Bet's Michael Shinners said: "A sensational performance from Samcro who is the most exciting prospect in National Hunt racing. We are 8/11 to win the Ballymore and 6/4 if connections decide to go for the Sky Bet Supreme."


"Today was certainly a huge progression. He's going for the Ballymore - there's no doubt about that."

Click here to listen to Mike Vince's interview with winning owner Michael O'Leary.


Elliott said: "The horse was great. I'm delighted with him and Jack gave him a great ride. He's opened up a lot of doors and I'd say we can go any road with him now. He's a good horse and we're lucky to have him.

"Nothing fazes him at all. He just does what he has to do - eats, sleeps and drinks. He was never out of his comfort zone - a bit like myself. He was bought to be a big three-mile chaser, and that's what he is, but, to be honest, he showed a lot of class there and he could be anything.

"I don't know where we'll go at Cheltenham, I'll have to ask the boys and see. Coming here I would have said we'd be going for the Ballymore but the way he's done that, I'd say he could go for any race."

Kennedy said: "He couldn't do any more. He jumped great and travelled well. It doesn't really matter what you do with him. He's a dream to ride. He settles away and he's always there whenever you want him. He's a pleasure to ride. All going well, we'll try and get to Cheltenham in one piece and look forward to it."

Samcro jumps the last at Leopardstown
Samcro jumps the last at Leopardstown

Samcro's owner Michaael O'Leary said: "He ran well, jumped well and will come on for the run. He got a lovely ride from Jack. I'm bricking myself every time he runs that he'll take a fall or something will happen.

"But it's nice to have one as good as him. We'll have to keep the hype down now."

Elliott added: "I wouldn't rule out the Supreme after that but I'll chat with the lads and see. I don't know where we'll go, to tell you the truth, but I would be frightened by Getabird (in the Supreme). I thought he was very good and think he's a good horse."

Mullins was thrilled with the performance of the Duc Des Genievres and said: "I'm delighted with that. For a horse having only his third run of his life that was a big run."

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