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Samcro's ready to live up to Cheltenham hype in what will prove a major test


Wayne Bailey

They reckon the wheelbarrow was invented in China around 100 years before the birth of Christ, and while Chinese wheelbarrows were designed to carry big loads over long distances, the first European wheelbarrows were designed to carry smaller loads over shorter distances.

The history of horse racing goes back even further, although I'm not quite sure when we came across the first 'wheelbarrow job' in the sport of kings. That is, of course, a horse so certain to win that you'll need to bring your wheelbarrow to collect all the dough from the bookie shop.

Priced around 8/11, you'd need to stake a lot of money on Samcro in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (1.30) to collect a wheelbarrow of cash, but if there's a banker, this is surely it.

I nailed my colours to the mast in the Arkle yesterday and said Footpad would be my biggest bet of the week - so I'm trying to resist the temptation to top up my existing bet on Samcro with the winnings.

But, just like Footpad, we are all about potential here and, on the early evidence, Samcro looks frighteningly talented. Those looking to pick holes in his armour will point to the fact that he's yet to meet a horse to give him a real test, but that's hardly his fault and Elliott's star has done all he's been asked with the minimum of fuss under Jack Kennedy in those three hurdle races to date.

It's a very big ride for Kennedy and not only is it Samcro's first real test, it's also his first race outside of Ireland.

Of course, anything can happen in racing and so-called dead certs can and do get beaten.

Both horses have had their problems, but we finally have the battle we've been waiting for between Altior and Douvan in the Queen Mother Champion Chase (3.30).

It's rare for a horse to come back after such a long absence and win at the festival - and while the fan in me deeply wants to see Douvan bounce back, the fact that we haven't seen him in a year really puts me off his price of 100/30.

Altior is yet to be beaten in a hurdle or a chase in 12 races, and he looked at his best when taking the Game Spirit Chase.

He's eased to odds-against which seems fair all considered.

For something at a bigger price, take a chance on The Last Samuri in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase (4.10) at 11/2 or thereabouts.

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