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Rejuvenated Samcro on target for Galway Plate

Samcro is being aimed at the Tote Galway Plate on July 28 after returning to winning ways at Killarney recently.

It was the talented nine-year-old’s first success since the Grade One Marsh Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March 2020.

His races in between had been limited to three, being pulled up in two of them – and connections of the Denise ‘Sneezy’ Foster-trained gelding believe a summer campaign could be more beneficial to Samcro, as Eddie O’Leary, racing manager for owners Gigginstown House Stud, explained.

“His summer plan will be the Galway Plate. We hope he has a healthier summer and hopefully his problems, scoping bad or his sinuses, will be helped,” he said.

“We just hope that being able to train during the summer he might have a healthier summer.

“We were all happy with his run the last day. The tight track wouldn’t have suited him, but he showed a lot of determination. Hopefully the next day we’ll see a bit of the old sparkle as well.

“The Plate will be his summer target. I don’t think there will be a race in between it, unless Sneezy has other options for him.”

Meanwhile, Tiger Roll, Gigginstown’s dual Grand National hero and five-time Cheltenham Festival winner, is enjoying a summer holiday.

The 11-year-old was last seen finishing distant fourth to Clan Des Obeaux in the Betway Bowl at Aintree in April.

Tiger Roll is enjoying a summer out at grass
Tiger Roll is enjoying a summer out at grass (David Davies/Jockey Club)

The owners ran him in the Grade One rather than bid for a record-equalling third Grand National as they were not happy with his handicap mark.

“He’s great, getting fat out in the field as is his wont,” said O’Leary.

“He’s in great form. We were disappointed, but not surprised, the handicapper didn’t reassess him downwards after Aintree.

“The plan is he’ll have to go back to the UK for a couple of more races at the back end, which is not his time of the year, and we’ll have the same carry on with the handicapper about his ridiculous rating.

“My point is we’ve been in racing for 20 years and never queried the rating of a horse. We’ve never complained over a handicap rating ever, except Tiger Roll.

“He won’t go for the National unless he’s given a chance. We don’t want to be forced into retiring him.”

Jack Kennedy in the frame for Tiger Roll ride at Aintree

Jack Kennedy could get the leg up on Tiger Roll for the first time since October 2017 when the dual Grand National winner runs in the Betway Bowl at Aintree next week.

Speculation over where the five-times Cheltenham Festival winner would next run ended on Friday morning when he was not declared for the Boylesports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday.

The 11-year-old returned to top form at Cheltenham when running out an easy winner of the cross country chase, his third victory in the race.

However, he had already been scratched from the Randox Grand National as his connections felt his handicap mark was “unfair”.

“He’s come out of Cheltenham great,” said Eddie O’Leary, racing manager for Gigginstown House Stud.

“His weight at Fairyhouse had no bearing on this decision. Our thinking is let’s run him in the Bowl and let the handicapper see.

“Keith (Donoghue) tends to only ride him in the cross country, so I would imagine Jack Kennedy will be riding him – but we haven’t confirmed that yet.

“Mind you, the Bowl doesn’t look a very good race this year and it’s likely to be a very small field.”