Elliott saddles six-timer

Samcro and Jack Kennedy jump the last to win

High-class bumper performer Samcro made a flying start to his career over jumps in the Buy Your 2018 Annual Badge Maiden Hurdle at Punchestown.

Trainer Gordon Elliott has made no secret of the regard in which he holds the five-year-old and he could not have been more impressive in winning National Hunt Flat races at Punchestown, Navan and Fairyhouse last season.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned gelding, also a winning point-to-pointer, was a prohibitively priced 1-5 favourite for his first start over the smaller obstacles and having jumped well in the main under Jack Kennedy, he readily pulled 15 lengths clear of Mind's Eye.

Elliott said: "Job done – we think he's a nice horse.

"Jack said it was pretty straightforward and he would have done as much at home on the gallop.

"He's relaxed and you could step him up in trip but he's got the pace for that (two miles).

"He's a nice horse, it's hard to know how good he is but we like him and we think the world of him.

"It'll be steady steady and he'll have one more run before Christmas I'd imagine.

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"We'll have to look at something like the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse. I've said it all along, I think he's quick enough for two miles and he has the stamina to stay and step out whenever you want.

"Chasing is going to be his game, so we'll try and mind him."

Having also struck with Pallasator (13-8 favourite) in the charity race and Ben Dundee (13-8 favourite) Punchestown November Festival Handicap Hurdle, Elliott secured his fourth winner of the afternoon when Death Duty made it two from two over fences in the Buck House Novice Chase.

The Grade One-winning hurdler was the 4-9 favourite to follow up his fencing debut success at Tipperary little over a fortnight ago and did so in good style under Davy Russell, beating Tout Est Permis by 11 lengths.

Russell said: "He's a lovely horse. I didn't learn a lot from Tipperary as he was doing it so easy, but we learnt a lot more about him today.

"You'd have to be pleased. It's a pleasure to be riding these horses.

"He's got an awful lot of pace, but time will tell where he goes. This won't be his biggest test for the year, so we'll have to find out a bit more."

Elliott said: "I've always thought the world of this horse. Last year I was of the opinion that he probably wanted three miles, but I'd say I might have been wrong, to be honest.

"He wasn't right in Cheltenham, so look we'll put a line through last year.

"He was always bought to be a chaser and chasing is his game. He's a horse to look forward to.

"I'd say he'll go for the Drinmore (at Fairyhouse) now and I'd say he'll go straight there."

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