Elliott fuelled by Champion dream

10 October 2018 04:44:42 EST

Gordon Elliott has yet to talk about Samcro's future with owners Gigginstown House Stud but the trainer makes no secret of his desire to win a Champion Hurdle.

The six-year-old lit up the novice hurdling division last season, winning each of his first four starts, culminating in an authoritative success in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

Connections then opted to pitch Samcro into open Grade One company in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle in April, bidding to establish just how good he might be.

Samcro fell before the race had begun in earnest, leaving Elliott and company scratching their heads afterwards.

I'd love to win a Champion Hurdle, but I only train the horse, I don't own him. I'll have to talk to the lads and see what they want to do.

Gordon Elliott

He could embark on a novice chasing campaign this winter, but Elliott suggest wining a Champion Hurdle is a major draw.

Leading trainer at last year's Cheltenham Festival, the Co Meath handler - just like powerful owners Gigginstown - has yet to claim the two-mile hurdling championship. It is a race the trainer would dearly like to win.

"It's still up in the air at the moment, to be honest," Elliott wrote in his blog. "He's in good form and cantering away. Obviously at some stage I'll have to sit down and talk to Michael and Eddie (O'Leary, owners) and we'll make a decision.

"It's a pity we didn't stand up in Punchestown as if he'd gone and won that I'd say we'd definitely be going the Champion Hurdle route."

Samcro is 4/1 to win the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham this season, with Buveur D'air rated 8/11 to win a third straight renewal for Nicky Henderson and Melon, second last year for Willie Mullins, priced at 5/1.

While admitting the final decision sits with Gigginstown, Elliott appears to be leaning towards a hurdling campaign with the precociously talented Samcro.

"I'd love to win a Champion Hurdle, but I only train the horse, I don't own him. I'll have to talk to the lads and see what they want to do," he added.

"The way he jumps a hurdle you'd say chasing is going to be his game down the road, but it's not easy coming across a Champion Hurdle horse. I'd love to win a Champion Hurdle, that's all I can say."

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