Walsh: Samcro should be sent chasing sooner rather than later
Ruby Walsh thinks Samcro should be sent chasing rather than stay hurdling when he is unleashed this season.
Eddie O'Leary, racing manager to owners Gigginstown House Stud, has described the chances of the star Cheltenham Festival winner staying hurdling rather than going chasing as "50-50".
Walsh, the top rider at the festival in 11 of the last 15 seasons, said: "From his pedigree and coming from his point-to-point background, and the way he jumps, Samcro looks a chaser.
"He ticks the right boxes to head for a Champion Hurdle as he's a Ballymore Novices' Hurdle winner, like Istabraq, Hardy Eustace and Faugheen. On the other hand, if he stays over hurdles for another season, it's often harder to go over fences then. The only horse who has won a Champion Hurdle and then won a Gold Cup is Dawn Run.
"On that basis, you'd have to wonder if a second season hurdling is the right way forward for a horse whose ultimate aim is to be a chaser. It's a long way from a beginners' chase to a Cheltenham Gold Cup and a lot of things have to go right."
Speaking in his Paddy Power blog, Walsh added: "Gigginstown have been extremely successful with chasers, but having said that, neither of their Gold Cup winners would have won a Champion Hurdle. In that way, Samcro is probably a bit different to War Of Attrition and Don Cossack."
Samcro is a top-priced 8-1 for the Champion Hurdle, 5-1 for the JLT Chase, 8-1 for the Racing Post Arkle and 12-1 for the RSA Chase.
Paddy Power on Thursday went 4-9 about Samcro running in a hurdle race on his first start of the campaign and 13-8 for the six-year-old to race over fences on his seasonal return.
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