Gigginstown: we want to let Samcro do the talking at Leopardstown
Eddie O’Leary has called on Samcro to do the talking on the track in advance of the potential star’s return in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown but indicated that ante-post Cheltenham Festival punters should not read anything into the fact his Sunday mission is over two miles.
Unbeaten in six races, including a point-to-point, Samcro has already built up a massive following and is 4-7 with Paddy Power and Betfair Sportsbook to notch his first Grade 1 at the weekend, while he is hot favourite for the 2m5f Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham at a best-priced 15-8.
O’Leary, racing manager to owners Gigginstown House Stud, said: “He hasn't been out for a while but is in terrific form. The two-mile trip should suit him well and he's a very nice horse we like a lot.
“But at this stage we just want to let the horse do the talking – and hopefully he can do that.”
Samcro, who featured in the entries released on Thursday for not only the Ballymore but the 2m Sky Bet Supreme and 3m Albert Barlett at Cheltenham, did have two other options at Leopardstown on Saturday, including over 2m6f.
O'Leary added: “All Cheltenham options are open for him still, but he's likely to step up in trip for the Ballymore after this.”
Samcro, like many of Gigginstown’s deadliest weapons, is trained by Gordon Elliott, who is 5-2 with Paddy Power and BoyleSports to finish top trainer at the Dublin Racing Festival.
His great rival Willie Mullins is a best-priced 2-5 with BoyleSports and will certainly be hoping for a big day on Saturday, with horses such as Faugheen, Melon, Footpad, Min and Yorkhill set to represent him as he bids to eat into Elliott's advantage in the championship race.
With Samcro heading for the Deloitte, Elliott will run Gigginstown’s Dortmund Park – impressive winner at Thurles last time – in the meeting’s opening race, the Grade 1 Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle.
O’Leary said: “Dortmund Park is a very big horse and hopefully this won't come a bit too quickly after his win at Thurles, as it was very heavy ground that day. He's a very heavy horse and is running into fitness. He looked like an Albert Bartlett horse at Thurles.”
Petit Mouchoir, last season’s Irish Champion Hurdle winner, has not been seen since winning a beginners’ chase last October, and O’Leary is hopeful the Henry de Bromhead-trained grey can put up a good showing in the Grade 1 Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase.
He said: “We're delighted to have Petit Mouchoir back but it's not all about Saturday for him. Everything he's been doing, he's been doing very well, but we just hope he can come through the race unscathed, then we can start thinking about Cheltenham. We also run Tycoon Prince and we’ve always liked him.”
Gigginstown will be represented by Outlander, Valseur Lido and Alpha Des Obeaux in Sunday’s feature Unibet Irish Gold Cup.
O’Leary added: “Outlander has been inconsistent but he's a good one on his day. Touch wood, he should run well if he's on a going day.
“We're expecting a bit of improvement from Valseur Lido, and he'll love the ground. Alpha Des Obeaux was less than a length behind him in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase and also takes his chance.”
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