Samcro switch not on cards

06 March 2018 05:26:18 EST
Samcro's trainer Gordon Elliott.

Samcro remains on target for next week's Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, according to Gigginstown House racing manager Eddie O'Leary.

The Gordon Elliott-trained runner has been one of the most talked-about horses of the jumps season and is heading to Cheltenham unbeaten in three starts over timber.

Samcro was also unbeaten in three bumpers last term and this season has shown himself to be both ground and trip versatile.

That led to him holding entries in all off the novice hurdles races at Cheltenham, although connections have always pinpointed the Ballymore, over two miles and five furlongs, as his intended destination.

Samcro is 8/11 to win that race on Wednesday 14th March and, despite concerns about the ground, O'Leary says there are no plans to change course.

"Switching Samcro from the Ballymore to the Supreme is something we're not even thinking about. It doesn't interest us that his price for the Supreme has shortened," O'Leary said.

"Unless the ground becomes brutally heavy - and I hope for everyone's sake that won't be the case - it isn't something we'll even consider."

On the issue of potentially soft ground at the Festival next week, O'Leary suggests official soft going in England wouldn't be an inconvenience.

"What we call good to soft in Ireland, they call soft in England. They're always a step better than we are," he told The Irish Times.

"What we call soft, they call heavy; what we call heavy they wouldn't race on. It's being called soft now and the forecast is for a wet couple of days, but then we're told it will dry up next week as well. It's all a moveable feast at the moment."

Next Destination can be backed at 4/1 for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle while Black Op is 8/1.

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