Trainer Gordon Elliott believes the sky can be the limit with his unbeaten star in the making Samcro after his latest win.
The Gigginstown House-owned six-year-old won all three starts in bumpers last season and is now a perfect three-from-three over hurdles, having landed the Grade One Deloitte Novice Hurdle over two miles at Leopardstown on Sunday.
He's going for the Ballymore - there's no doubt about that.Michael O'Leary
Samcro made his hurdles debut over two-miles at Punchestown, before stepping up to two-and-a-half-miles at Navan in November on his second outing.
Dropped to the minimum trip once more, he landed the first top-level prize of his career with a stylish display on day two of the Dublin Racing Festival.
After travelling powerfully, Samcro pulled away from his rivals with a minimum of fuss having cruised to the front before the final flight.
Jockey Jack Kennedy was barely able to keep the grin from his face as they careered up the run-in, the best part of six-lengths clear of the staying on Duc Des Genievres in second spot.
Elliott was suitably impressed with Samcro's latest display and, while staying chases are the long-term goal, the Co Meath handler suggests he could turn his hand to almost anything on the current evidence.
"Nothing fazes him at all. He just does what he has to do - eats, sleeps and drinks," said the trainer.
"He was never out of his comfort zone - a bit like myself. He was bought to be a big three-mile chaser and that's what he is, but, to be honest, he showed a lot of class there and he could be anything."
Post-race Elliott said he wasn't sure what Cheltenham Festival race Samcro would be aimed at, with entries in place for all three novice hurdles. The trainer said his owners would make that decision and Michael O'Leary didn't waste any time in nailing his colours to the mast.
"Today was certainly a huge progression. He's going for the Ballymore - there's no doubt about that," O'Leary said.
Samcro is 8/11 to win the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, while Leopardstown runner-up Duc Des Genievres is 11/1 for trainer Willie Mullins.
The Hendy De Bromhead-trained Paloma Blue finished third in the Deloitte and can be backed at 222/1 for the Ballymore next month.
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