Samcro headed to the 2018 Cheltenham Festival as a banker for many punters, and the Gordon Elliott-trained superstar duly delivered, as he was a stunning winner of the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle, as he enhanced his already lofty reputation with a sensational performance on day two of the meeting.
Kept wide by Jack Kennedy from the outset, the 8/11 favourite had a few minor scares in the early part of the race, as he first had to deal with a hurdle flapping in front of him, before he took a false step on a path, but with Kennedy getting the hotpot back on his stride there was only going to be one winner.
He was pushed for home as they turned in the straight, as he eased past Vision Des Flos in the matter of a few strides, and he pulled a few lengths clear heading towards the final flight, with Black Op the only danger, who was staying on out of the back.
A fairly smart jump at the last flight, having not met it on an ideal stride, saw Samcro's momentum halted slightly, but Kennedy managed to get him rolling again, and while he wasn't pulling away from Black Op he had enough class to keep a comfortable gap, and he sent the Prestbury Park stands into raptures, as he was another winning favourite.
Black Op ran a huge race in defeat, while the Willie Mullins-trained Next Destination stayed on for third place, and is sure to be stepped up in trip on his next outing, but the Wednesday opener was all about one horse, and that was Samcro, who looks a real star of the now, and the future.
13:30 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered as The Baring Bingham) 1.Samcro - G Elliott - J Kennedy - 8/11f 2.Black Op - T George - N Fehily - 8/1 3.Next Destination - W Mullins - R Walsh - 4/1 14 Ran