Last-minute Unibet Morgiana Hurdle absentee Samcro is likely to run next in Newcastle’s Fighting Fifth – when he may clash with dual champion Buveur D’Air at the start of next month.
Trainer Gordon Elliott felt he had no option but to pull his Champion Hurdle hope Samcro out of Sunday’s Grade One feature because of the lack of rain at Punchestown.
After Supasundae missed the Grade One race for the same reason, and Sharjah then went on to easily defeat former Champion Hurdle winner and strong favourite Faugheen, Elliott pointed the way to Newcastle.
He will consult owners Gigginstown House Stud first, but has no current plans to run Samcro in Fairyhouse’s Hatton’s Grace Hurdle over the longer distance of two and a half miles.
“The way I’m thinking is Newcastle, but I’ve got to speak to (owners) Michael and Eddie (O’Leary),” said Elliott.
“I’m disappointed I couldn’t run the horse, especially after Punchestown made such an effort – and the public want to see these horses.”
The outcome of the Morgiana gave Elliott renewed confidence though, as Sharjah had previously finished five lengths behind Samcro when he was beaten into second by Bedrock as odds-on favourite on his seasonal return.
Elliott added: “In a way he got a boost with Sharjah winning, and it just shows the race at Down Royal wasn’t so farcical.
“He probably won’t go for the Hatton’s Grace, because we’ve Apple’s Jade for that.”
Elliott had repeatedly stated throughout the week that last season’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner would not run on Sunday if he considered the ground to be too quick.
Having walked the track after racing the previous evening and again before the action resumed, Elliott eventually made the call to take his stable star out following the first hurdles event of the day.
He said: “It was a tough decision, and we just waited until after the first hurdle race today before making a final decision.
“It was just a bit quick going down the hill. He’s entered in the Fighting Fifth and the Hatton’s Grace, but we need some rain.”
His fellow absentee Supasundae will now be aimed at the Hatton’s Grace – while Samcro may have to contend with Buveur D’Air and possibly Bedrock among the strong entries at this stage for Newcastle’s Grade One showpiece on December 1.