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Stayers' Hurdle bid possible for Samcro after recovering from lung infection

Samcro could turn up at Cheltenham after all despite being described as "very doubtful" for the festival only a month ago by connections.

Last season's Ballymore Novices' Hurdle hero was being aimed at the Champion Hurdle at the start of the year but, after a winless campaign, has been rerouted towards the Stayers' Hurdle, for which he is 6-1 with firms offering the non-runner no bet concession.

The seven-year-old was found to have a lung infection after finishing a disappointing fifth in the Ryanair Hurdle at Leopardstown in December, but trainer Gordon Elliott said on Sunday: "Samcro has recovered from his infection. The vets are happy with him and he’s working away. We’re pleased with him so far.

"He’ll probably work again towards the end of this week and we’ll see how things go before making plans."

Elliott added: "If he goes to Cheltenham it will be for the Stayers' Hurdle and if we decide against sending him there then we’ll have the Grade 1 two-and-a-half-mile hurdle at Aintree, and the Punchestown festival to consider.

"They are the options, depending on how he is. If we’re not entirely happy with him then we’ll leave him alone until next season, when he’ll go chasing."

Samcro has not won since scoring at Cheltenham last year. He fell three out in the Irish Champion Hurdle at Punchestown in April and was surprisingly beaten by Bedrock on his seasonal reappearance at Down Royal in November.

Before finishing fifth in the Ryanair Hurdle at Christmas, he took on Buveur D'Air in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle. He started favourite but was trounced by eight lengths by the dual Champion Hurdle winner.

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