Super Samcro the star in Ballymore confirmations at Cheltenham

Thursday, Mar 8 2018

Samcro is the headline act among 38 horses confirmed for the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham on Wednesday.

Gordon Elliott's striking chestnut extended his unbeaten record to six with a scintillating display in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown last month and is widely regarded as one of the bankers of the week in the opening race on day two of the Festival.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned six-year-old is Elliott's only remaining entry in the two-mile-five-furlong contest, whereas his great rival Willie Mullins still has 14 horses in contention.

Mullins' chief hope appears to be Next Destination, who is three from three over hurdles, while other possible runners for the team include Duc Des Genievres, who was third behind Next Destination at Naas and second behind Samcro at Leopardstown.

The home team is headed by On The Blind Side, one of thee potential representatives for Nicky Henderson along with Mr Whipped and Ok Corral.

Tom George's Black Op is towards the head of ante-post lists.

Mullins has saddled a record eight previous winners in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper and has a formidable hand once again with Blackbow, Carefully Selected, Squadron Commander, Tornado Flyer, Colreevy and Relegate all among the 25 confirmations.

However, the well-fancied Hollowgraphic is a notable absentee.

Elliott's Felix Desjy and Joseph O'Brien's Rhinestone are other major hopes from Ireland, while the British challenge includes Nick Gifford's Didtheyleaveuoutto and Anthony Honeyball's four-year-old Acey Milan.

The Coral Cup weights are headed by the Mullins-trained Bleu Et Rouge. Other leading contenders among 87 remaining hopefuls include his stablemate Max Dynamite and Nicky Henderson's William Henry.

Twenty horses go forward for the Glenfarclas Chase over the cross-country course. Last year's winner Cause Of Causes is set to be taken on by stable companion Tiger Roll, a four-strong Enda Bolger team headed by Josies Orders, and Kim Bailey's 2016 Grand National runner-up The Last Samuri, among others.

Cause Of Causes will be bidding for a remarkable fourth Festival success, having previously landed the National Hunt Chase and the Kim Muir under regular partner Jamie Codd.

Casa Tall tops the Boodles Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, with leading ante-post hopes Act Of Valour, Nube Negra and Mitchouka all standing their ground.

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