Ruby Walsh: Samcro looks a chaser-in-waiting to me

He may be on the sidelines but top jock Ruby Walsh is never short of an opinion or two and knows what he'd like to do with Samcro

Ruby Walsh & Gordon Elliott


I took a nasty fall off Sapphire Lady at Killarney and a couple of bruised ribs has me on the sidelines this week and next. I should be fighting fit for Listowel though.

One thing I won’t want to miss is the ‘Jog for Jockeys’ fun run at the Curragh this Saturday. You can run, jog or crawl around the Curragh if you want to lend your support. It’s a good bit of fun and a great family day out and any money raised go to the Injured Jockeys Fund and the great work they do.



There’s a big decision to be made by Samcro’s connections as to whether their star player sticks to hurdles or switches to fences for the new National Hunt season.

If he says hurdling, you’d imagine the Champion Hurdle next March will be the ultimate target. Although he fell on his last start at Punchestown in the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle, he did win the Ballymore Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham before that.

Faugheen, Hardy Eustace and Istabraq all won that contest before Champion Hurdle success … so he ticks that box.

The other side of the coin though is that if you stay hurdling for a year longer it can make it harder to go novice chasing the following year.

The only Champion Hurdler to go on and win a Cheltenham Gold Cup relatively recently was Dawn Run in 1986. Her Blue Riband triumph came two years after her Champion Hurdle win.

So is a second season spent hurdling the right call for a horse that was ultimately bought to be a chaser? Is there any advantage to it?

That’s what his connections at Gigginstown Stud are mulling over now. They’ve already won two Gold Cups with War of Attrition and Don Cossack but neither were ever likely to win a Champion Hurdle.

With Samcro’s pedigree, point-to-point background and the way he jumps – he looks like a chaser-in-waiting to me.

It’s still a tough call though. If Gigginstown Stud do decide to go novice chasing and all goes well, I’d imagine it will be small enough fields that take him on. His reputation precedes him.

However, it’s still a long road from contesting beginners’ chases to being crowned a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.

5 to Follow

Limini is a high-class filly who ran a blinder on her first run back in the amateur race at Galway and then probably bounced a few days later when third to Nessun Dorma. She’s already won the mares race at the Festival but still has huge potential on the Flat and back over hurdles if we can get a clear run with her.

As she’s not a Grade One winner, she’ll get the 7lbs allowance in those Grade 2 contests off the geldings. She could have a profitable winter.

Pakora won her maiden hurdle well and then did really well to win at Galway in a Listed Novice Hurdle.  She’s a filly that could develop into a contender for the Trull House Mares Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham ( a race Limini won) next March.

Of the bumper horses Dorrells Pierji has really been improving and when he goes hurdling, he’ll win plenty of races. He’s won two bumpers and was very impressive in Galway.

I picked against Calie Du Mesnil at Galway and picked Exchange Rate because I thought the better ground wouldn’t suit her. Then the rain came and she ran a cracker to beat Sapphire Lady. She should be even better on real winter ‘soft’ ground and when stepped up in trip again from 2m 4f. She looks a real dour stayer and could even be a dark horse for the Albertt Bartlett at Cheltenham next year.

Shanning was third in the featured 2m 6f handicap hurdle behind Low Sun on the Saturday at Ballybrit and that run was full of promise.

She hadn’t run for 11 months and was a bit keen on her reappearance, so she improve for the run. She might reappear at Listowel in a fortnight if all goes well.

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