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Samcro has weighty task in Galway Plate

Samcro will have to defy top weight if he is to win the tote Galway Plate.

The nine-year-old is a dual Cheltenham Festival winner, but consistency has not been his strong point over the last two years.

Winner of a Grade Three at Killarney in May, he failed to back that up at Listowel next time out.

Samcro’s weight will be eased slightly on Wednesday – because he will be ridden by Jordan Gainford, who can claim 5lb.

His trainer Denise Foster also runs Battleoverdoyen.

Willie Mullins is well represented in the famous handicap by Easy Game (Bryan Cooper), Brahma Bull (Jack Foley), Royal Rendezvous (Paul Townend), Annamix (Patrick Mullins), Livelovelaugh (Sean O’Keeffe) and Koshari (Brian Hayes).

Owner JP McManus has five runners – Emmet Mullins’ versatile eight-year-old The Shunter, Joseph O’Brien’s Darasso and Top Moon, Off You Go, now in the care of Cathal Byrnes, and Enda Bolger’s Modus, formerly trained by Paul Nicholls.

McManus also has two of the three reserves, A Wave Of The Sea and Everlastingpromise.

The last horse to make the current cut in the field of 22 was Henry de Bromhead’s Somptueux. De Bromhead also runs Visioman.

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.”