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Samcro faces a crucial workout on Wednesday as a decision looms over his possible participation in the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham next week.
Trainer Gordon Elliott fears he may be losing the race against time to get last year’s impressive Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle to the Festival, and rates his prospects “only 50-50”.
Speaking at a Festival preview night at the Europa Hotel in Belfast on Monday, Elliott said: “He’s only 50-50 to run. He is going to work on Wednesday, and then a decision will be made.
“He seems in good form, but I think we are running out of time.
“He’ll go for the two-and-a-half-mile hurdle at Aintree if he doesn’t run at Cheltenham.”
Samcro was beaten in three starts during the first half of the season but was found to be suffering from a lung infection.
In stark contrast, Elliott’s Apple’s Jade, in the same ownership of Gigginstown House Stud, has had a tremendous campaign so far – with three Grade One victories in a four-race unbeaten run.
She, too, will have her last piece of work on Wednesday before the Unibet Champion Hurdle.
“That is where she runs. I didn’t think she would do what she did over two miles (in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown),” said Elliott.
“She has been awesome all year and has her final bit of work on Wednesday. If she comes out of it well, it is all systems go.
“I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit of rain.”
When asked about the mare making the running, Elliott said: “I would probably be happier to take a lead.”