Hold your bets: no decision on superstar Samcro's future until the summer
Eddie O'Leary will vote for Samcro to begin his chasing career next season when discussions take place in late summer, but Gigginstown's racing manager stressed that no decision will be made on the future of the brilliant Ballymore winner before then.
Samcro is currently ante-post favourite for the Arkle, JLT and the RSA at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival, as well as second favourite behind Buveur D'Air for the Champion Hurdle, but it might be wise to wait until next autumn to get involved in any of those markets as no definite decision has been made on what route he will take.
"We've not discussed it yet and that might not take place until Galway time in late summer," O'Leary said on Monday evening.
"He'll hopefully go to Punchestown next, where he has the option of any of the novice hurdles, and then he'll have a big, long summer and enjoy a well-deserved rest out on the grass.
"My vote would be to go chasing with him next season but there's no plan in place at all yet. The plan was Cheltenham and hopefully we'll get him to Punchestown now."
O'Leary says the overriding feeling after Samcro bagged the Ballymore was one of relief.
"It was pure relief that he had gone and done it. If you had told us that Samcro would be our only winner at Cheltenham we'd most definitely have taken it. That would have done us," O'Leary added.
Impressive Ryanair winner Balko Des Flos could have Aintree on his agenda, according to O'Leary.
"Balko Des Flos is more ground dependent than track dependent. The better the ground, the better chance he would have. The Bowl is an option for him but nothing has been decided yet and much will depend on what way the ground is at Aintree," O'Leary said.
One of the rare blips on a blissful week for O'Leary and Gordon Elliott was the below-par performance of Apple's Jade, who failed to defend her OLBG Mares Hurdle crown when finishing third behind Benie Des Dieux.
Elliott admitted that it was his biggest disappointment of the week and stressed she has not been herself since she arrived home.
Elliott said: "Samcro winning was a huge relief as obviously the big disappointment for us on day one was Apple's Jade. She just wasn't herself for some reason. That's not the real her and she's been quiet in herself since she's got home, too.
"Another blow was losing Mossback. He seemed to be enjoying himself when he came down. He was a good stayer and had a future so it was a blow, but it was obviously a magic week for us overall.
"The Martin Pipe is always a race I like to win and I got great pleasure out of watching Blow By Blow do what he did. I thought the ground had gone against him but I suppose his class shone through as he's a Grade 1 bumper winner."
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