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Thursday 14 November 2019

Samcro chasing

Elliott seven-year-old to make his debut over fences at Down Royal

Samcro can make his first run over fences at Down Royal this week
Samcro can make his first run over fences at Down Royal this week

Samcro could make his eagerly-awaited debut over fences in the Advanced NI Scaffolding Beginners Chase at Down Royal on Friday.

The Gordon Elliott-trained seven-year-old was among 16 entries for this near two-and-a-half-mile event which could see him return after a 307-day absence.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding looked a potential superstar when extending his unbeaten record to seven in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.

However, Gordon Elliott's charge suffered a heavy fall in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle that April and ran below par in three starts last season - the latest when fifth in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown's Christmas meeting.

Samcro was subsequently found to be suffering a lung infection, which ultimately ruled him out for the remainder of the campaign.

Elliott has also entered Cracking Smart, Milan Native and Dortmund Park while other prospective rivals include Henry de Bromhead's Grade Two hurdle winner Dommage Pour Toi and Noel Meade's Trappist Monk.

The Elliott-trained Coeur Sublime, runner-up in last season's Triumph Hurdle, is one of nine entries for the Grade Two WKD Hurdle.

The County Meath handler has a second string to his bow in Coko Beach, runner-up in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham in March.

Honeysuckle, from the De Bromhead stable, could try to take her 100 per cent record under Rules to five after tasting Grade One success in the mares' novice hurdle final at Fairyhouse in April.

Elliott is responsible for three of the 11 possibles for the Grade Three Lough Construction Ltd EBF Mares' Novice Hurdle.

His trio is made up of Ard Abhainn, who has yet to run over hurdles, Fairyhouse maiden hurdle scorer Daylight Katie and Mount Ida, who got off the mark over the smaller obstacles at Galway on Sunday.

Cheltenham Champion Bumper winner Envoi Allen could begin his jumping career in the CBRE Property Experts Maiden Hurdle.

The Elliott inmate, owned by Cheveley Park Stud, won all his four races last term and was sent off a short-priced favourite on every occasion.

"The plan is to run at the moment. I think Gordon is happy with him, he's summered well, so hopefully we can creep away with him and see what happens," said Cheveley Park Stud's managing director Chris Richardson.

Elliott has also put in Escaria Ten, Fury Road, Multifactorial and Run Wild Fred among a 23-strong entry for the two-and-three-quarter-mile contest.

Mark Johnston broke the record for the total number of winners trained in a calendar year in Britain when Bavardages came home in front at Kempton yesterday. Ridden by Joe Fanning, the 8-1 chance got the better of Kuwaity by three-quarters of a length in the Magical Fireworks Spectacular Here On Saturday Nursery Handicap.

Johnston, 60, who last year became the most successful trainer in terms of career winners in Britain, was saddling his 236th winner of 2019.

The previous record of 235 been shared between Richard Hannon senior, who set his best tally in 2013, and Richard Fahey, who equalled the mark in 2015, until Johnston joined them when Bo Samraan won at Pontefract.

Johnston said: "We knew it would come some time.

"I wasn't going chasing any records, the horses were only going to run if it was right for them and it would happen eventually."

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