Trainer Gordon Elliott says Samcro is to stay over hurdles this season rather than go chasing.
Samcro won the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March and appeared on course for another impressive result in the Champion Hurdle at Punchestown in April but fell at the third from last hurdle.
Connections had considered switching to chasing this season, but Elliot has now confirmed Samcro will stick to hurdles – with the Cheltenham Festival’s Champion Hurdle the ultimate goal.
Writing in his blog for Betfair on Monday, Elliott said: “He’s in great form and the plan is for him to start off in the Grade 2 WKD at Down Royal on Friday.
“We’ve decided to keep him over hurdles this season in the hope that he can develop into a Champion Hurdle contender. I’ve never had a Champion Hurdle horse before and [owners] Gigginstown have yet to win it and we thought that it was worth giving Samcro a shot at that race.”
Elliott says Samcro will be sent chasing in the future but the six-year-old will be aimed at the Champion Hurdle this year.
He added: “He started off in point-to-points and when we bought him at Aintree he was bought as a future chaser and hopefully we will see him over fences in the future.
As far as this season is concerned though he will be staying over hurdles and we are going to try and follow a path towards the Champion Hurdle.”