Elliot Leads Cheltenham Trainer Race

Patience rewarded!

Samcro has long been regarded as a top-class operator by his connections and rediscovered the winning thread with a gutsy performance in the £150,000 Gr1 Marsh Novices’ Chase.

Trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Davy Russell, the eight-year-old son of Germany had undergone wind surgery since his last start in December and built a new stable at Elliott’s yard in Cullentra, County Meath, Ireland

This performance was a culmination of months of hard work by Elliott and his team as the 4/1 shot gamely saw off the gallant Melon (14/1) by a nose in a thrilling finish to the opener. Dual Cheltenham Festival hero Faugheen (3/1 favourite), who like the runner-up is also trained by Willie Mullins, was a length back in third.

Samcro, Melon and Faugheen jump the last

This was Elliott’s fourth victory of The Festival™ presented by Magners 2020 (Ravenhill, Gr2 National Hunt Chase; Envoi Allen, Gr1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and Aramax, Gr3 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle) and his 29th success in total at the meeting.

He now leads the Irish Independent Leading Trainer Award (based on his five second-placed finishes).

Reflecting on a second success at The Festival for Samcro following his win in the 2018 Gr1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, Elliott said: “Samcro is the forgotten horse. He is one the favourites in the yard and we love him.

“Samcro was in the doldrums for a while and had lost his way, so it means a lot to get him back to win another Gr1 at Cheltenham.

“You can see how much it means to everyone in the yard. All the girls and Jack Madden who looks after him everyday, have done all the hard work with this horse.

“They have spent day and night trying to get this horse right. He hasn’t been scoping clean and it has been hard to get him to scope right – thankfully it has paid off today.

“It is great. Everyone was knocking him when he was in the doldrums – I probably lost a bit of faith in him myself. The horses are flying and all running well, I just can’t believe it.  As you know, we’ve built a new stable for Samcro and he lives outside. I thought he had just got there on the line. Davy said that he missed the second-last and he was on the back-foot, so it was great to see him win.

“It was a great race to watch with Melon, Faugheen and Samcro battling it out, it is what we are all here for.

“He’s had his issues, but he was right today and it was job done. Jack Madden said to me this week that he hadn’t been this well since the Ballymore and he has looked better everyday.I’m delighted for the team, it’s a great effort from everyone and all of the team back home will enjoy this as well.It was a great feeling for him to win. Just to have him back is brilliant.”

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