Davy Russell bags Samcro Morgiana ride – but Elliott wants ground to ease

Davy Russell will be the supersub for Samcro on Sunday if the ground is deemed suitable for the six-year-old to take his chance in the Grade 1 Unibet Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown.

Samcro's credentials were tarnished on his seasonal reappearance at Down Royal this month when turned over at odds of 4-9 by Bedrock. Jack Kennedy was aboard that day but is suspended on Sunday, leaving the ride open for Russell.

Speaking at Clonmel on Thursday, trainer Gordon Elliott revealed Russell would ride, but added that he is wary of conditions being too fast.

Elliott said: "Samcro will definitely be declared. Ground is a big thing with him. It's been an extreme year and we're all pulling our hair out."

The trainer added stablemate Tombstone would also be declared for the race, which may also feature the returning Faugheen, who was the subject of a market move on Wednesday.

Elliott and Eddie O'Leary, racing manager for owners Gigginstown House Stud, indicated earlier in the week that Samcro will not be risked at Punchestown if underfoot conditions do not suit. 

Evidence of that approach was on show at Clonmel, with Shattered Love, another Elliott and Gigginstown star, a late withdrawal from the Listed mares' chase on Thursday's card with the ground deemed slightly too quick.

The ground at Punchestown is currently good, good to yielding in places.