This is all about Samcro - but will the one-time future megastar battle again?
John J Galvin Chase | 2m3f | 5yo+ | RTV
Samcro did what many people thought he wasn't capable of doing these days when winning at Killarney; battle.
That's right, the dual Cheltenham Festival winner, who had endured a spell in the doldrums over the winter, put his head down and battled to his first success since winning the Marsh Novices' Chase a couple of seasons back, and boy did he want it.
That Killarney race was over an extra furlong and, as Eddie O'Leary has outlined below, Samcro would ideally step up in trip rather than down, but Listowel should suit him even better than a tight track such as Killarney, judging by that latest performance.
There were some eyeballs rolled when it was revealed Samcro was to stay in training over the summer months with the Galway Plate being the target, but the first steps on that journey have been profitable ones.
In winning last month, the horse who once promised the world, proved big-race victories are not confined to the memory bank, and he can still have a major say in races like the Galway Plate.
Samcro is well enough weighted here to make it two from two for the campaign and he ought to have too much class for his rivals.
Darasso, like Samcro, came back to life at Killarney last month when winning under a forceful ride from Mark Walsh over hurdles, but this represents a stiffer task.
Peregrine Run, Snow Falcon and Henry de Bromhead's duo Abbey Magic and Ornua add to the intrigue but this is really only about one horse.
What they say
Peter Fahey, trainer of Peregrine Run
It's a good race. Our lad ran a great race at Killarney behind Samcro the last day. Coming back to two-miles-three probably isn't ideal for him, but he's in great form and hopefully the ground stays good and dry.
Eddie O'Leary, racing manager for Gigginstown House Stud, owners of Samcro and Mortal
Samcro is weighted to win. Hopefully the track will suit him better than Killarney – it's a more galloping track at Listowel. We hope he's lucky. He's fit and well. Unfortunately, the plan was for Jordan Gainford to ride him, but because he rode a couple of winners as an amateur before he turned professional, he isn't eligible to ride in these races. Barry Browne rides instead and hopefully he gets on well with him. Killarney was too sharp for Samcro and the trip was short of his best. The trip is short of his best again here but, given how well he hit the line at Killarney, we're very hopeful he can show what he's made. The Galway Plate remains the long-term target but we'll get over this first. Mortal jumps better on this nicer ground but he might need the run as he's just joined a new team.
Joseph O'Brien, trainer of Darasso
He's in good form at home and he won nicely over hurdles at Killarney last time. He's back over fences here but it looks quite a good race. Hopefully he can run well.
Henry de Bromhead, trainer of Ornua and Abbey Magic
Ornua has run well on his last few starts so he seems to be coming back to form. The better the ground the better his chance is. Abbey Magic seems to be very well so we are looking forward to running her. Hopefully she has a good chance.
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