Is the buzz merited? Our analysts give their verdict on much-hyped Samcro
Impressive but he'll face tougher challenges
Samcro will face stiffer tests this season, especially when he takes on one of the good Willie Mullins novices, but he undoubtedly stepped up here on his Punchestown debut.
His jumping was good last time, but he looked more like a hurdler here as he was a good bit lower and slicker, and clearly had learned a good bit from his maiden success. He also didn't look entirely at home on the heavier ground, but the manner in which he travelled and then quickened away from some useful rivals after the second-last was visually very impressive.
He has most of the attributes required in terms of the way he travels, jumps and quickens, and on better ground he will be better again, with the likelihood that he will be equally effective over 2m or 2m4f. It seems as though the 2m4f route is the way they will go, but he certainly has the gears to be just as effective over the minimum trip. It is a very nice problem for his connections to have.
Justin O'Hanlon, reporter
Glowing words recall Don Cossack
You can crab the form if you want – the second and third carried the second- and third-lowest Racing Post Ratings into the race – and Samcro is yet to be remotely tested over hurdles, but to do so would be to ignore the clues which scream this is a very special horse.
The last horse Gordon Elliott was this glowing about this early in his career was Gold Cup hero Don Cossack, and the manner in which Samcro separated himself – putting 12 lengths into his rivals from the back of the second-last without coming out of second gear – makes this a horse who is backing up that lofty reputation on the track.
Yes, he has a long way to go and yes there will likely be the odd speedbump along the way, but so far I've not seen anything that contradicts the assertions that this is a Ferrari of a horse and until I do I’m happy to take his trainer’s word for it – he has a knack for this sort of thing.
Stuart Riley, reporter
Everything he does is effortless
We’re well accustomed to the habitual hype that comes with a Gigginstown point-to-point winner or a Ricci recruit from France, but the vibes have always indicated Samcro exceeds the usual chatter.
Stepped up to 2m4f for the first time, what impressed me most was his demeanour. Samcro is entirely relaxed. Everything he does is effortless.
He deserves to be a short price for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle, but I am eager to see him against quality opposition. He isn’t the first Gigginstown good thing to be considered unbeatable only to get his colours lowered and he certainly won’t be the last.
Maddy Playle, reporter