Robbie Power: awesome Samcro has right credentials for Champion Hurdle
Gordon Elliott and Michael O’Leary might have been keen to play down the stunning victory of star novice hurdler Samcro at Leopardstown on Sunday but Grand National and Gold Cup winner Robbie Power thinks he saw a potential Champion Hurdle winner.
The big question after Samcro had cruised to a five-and-a-half-length success in the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle was whether his Cheltenham Festival target should be the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle or the longer Ballymore Novices' Hurdle, but Power thinks Sunday’s effort puts him in the reckoning for the feature race on day one.
“Samcro is living up to all of the hype,” the jockey said in his blog for BoyleSports. “There just is no inadequate trip for this horse. He can run two miles, two and a half miles or three miles, it won’t make any difference to him with his high cruising speed."
He added: “If I were Eddie O’Leary or Michael O’Leary I’d be thinking of having a crack at the Champion Hurdle – it’s wide open this year. After Buveur D’Air the strength is not too deep in that race.
“In saying that, if he goes the novice hurdle route, he’s going to be banker of the week.”
Samcro is not quoted by bookmakers in the Champion Hurdle market, but is a top-price 5-1 with Betfair for the Supreme and evens with the same bookmaker for the Ballymore, which is generally believed to be his preferred target.
With Cheltenham in mind, Power was delighted with his mount Special Tiara in the Coral Dublin Chase, who led for much of the Grade 2 before finishing third to impressive winner Min.
“I got a great thrill out of riding Special Tiara on Saturday and he is really coming back to himself,” said the rider. “I think on better ground at the Cheltenham Festival he will put on a great show in the Champion Chase. Henry has done a great job with him.
“Min was exceptional in that same race. We went a good gallop all the way and he jumped and travelled perfectly. In my opinion he’s won the best Champion Chase trial between England and Ireland so far this season.”
BoyleSports make Min their 3-1 second favourite for the Champion Chase, with last year's winner Special Tiara a 14-1 shot.
Power was on the mark with Supasundae in Saturday’s Irish Champion Hurdle, taking the notable scalp of Faugheen and enhancing his claims for the SunBets Stayers’ Hurdle in the process.
He said: “I thought after the second-last that Faugheen was going to pick up and leave us all behind but Supasundae put his head down and once we stayed within striking distance I knew that coming to the last, we could outstay him.
“Supa has only had three runs this year so it was a good idea of Jessica’s to run him over two miles instead of a three-mile slog. Hopefully it will all work well for Cheltenham.”
The victory was enough to promote Supasundae to a general 3-1 favourite for the Stayers’ Hurdle crown.
Power was far from downbeat about Our Duke, who returned from a spell on the sidelines to finish fourth to Edwulf in Sunday's Irish Gold Cup.
“I still thought we had a big chance coming to the second-last but unfortunately he made a novicey mistake,” he said. “Hopefully he’ll improve an awful lot from the run and the pleasing thing for me was when he picked up the straight he stayed galloping away.
“That means there’s plenty to look forward to with him this season.”
If you are interested in this, you might also like: