Samcro impressed on his chasing debut at Down Royal© Photo Healy Racing
All went to plan for Samcro (1/3 fav) on his chasing debut in the Advanced NI Scaffolding Beginner’s Chase as he dotted up by seventeen lengths from Trappist Monk (9/1).
The crack novice hurdler from the season before last, fitted with a first-time tongue-tie, popped away very accurately, led from halfway and cantered away from his rivals from three out.
He opened up nicely on the run-in when Keith Donoghue let out an inch of rein just to see what was there.
"There is (relief) to be honest as we had a long, hard year with him last year, said winning trainer Gordon Elliott after his fourth winner of the afternoon.
'We have changed a few things with him and he is scoping very good.
"I couldn't have been happier with what he did there.
"He (Keith Donoghue) said he only just popped the last three as he wanted to get him around. He said when he gave him a squeeze after the last he picked up and he was gone for those few strides.
"He couldn't have done anymore than what he did but it was brilliant. We have some nice novice chasers - a few of them will be taking each other on in the Drinmore.
"The plan is that he will go straight for the Drinmore. Battleoverdoyen could be more of a three miler and so could Champagne Classic, so we will see what happens.
"I thought it was a good performance.
"In fairness to Keith it was a big-pressure ride for him and he is a good sub to have."
BoyleSports make Samcro 7/1 from 10/1 for the JLT and 12/1 from 20/1 for the RSA, while PaddyPower have made him their 6/1 favourite from 10/1 for the JLT Novices' Chase at Cheltenham.
Additional reporting by Michael Graham