Gordon Elliott has raised the possibility of Samcro making his debut over fences at Down Royal in early November.
The Gigginstown House Stud-owned seven-year-old looked a superstar in the making after extending his unbeaten record under Rules to seven in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.
However, he suffered a heavy fall in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle the following month and failed to run up to expectations in three starts last season – most recently finishing fifth in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown last Christmas.
Samcro was subsequently found to be suffering a lung infection, which ultimately ruled him out for the remainder of the campaign, but Elliott is delighted with his charge ahead of his return to action.
He told The Irish Field: “It’s a great time of year, as all the winter horses are back in and we’ll try and get some of them going over the next six to eight weeks.
“Both Samcro and Apple’s Jade have had wind operations. They look great and the pair of them are in very good form – they are good and strong.
“I’d imagine that he (Samcro) will go chasing and he might start off somewhere like Down Royal in a beginners chase. He looks great and I’ve been very happy with him.
“He has always looked like a chaser and all is good with him.”
Apple’s Jade’s was spectacular in winning her first four starts of last season, but lost her way in the second half of the campaign.
Elliott is hopeful she will bounce back to her best and is eyeing an historic fourth successive victory in the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse in December.
Apple’s Jade currently shares the record of three victories in the race with Limestone Lad and Solerina.
Elliott added: “She will go the same road again as she did last year. Her main early season target will be the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse – we’ll try to win that race for the fourth year in a row.
“I’d say she’ll start off at Navan in the race she won last year (Lismullen Hurdle) and then she’ll go to Fairyhouse.
“She looks great and I’ve been very happy with her. She owes us nothing and she is a great mare to have in the yard.”