Samcro returned to winning form with tenacious success in the Grade Three An Riocht Chase in Killarney.
Dual Cheltenham Festival hero Samcro has been struggling in just three starts since his thrilling victory at the Novice Marsh 2020 Chase.
But the nine-year-old from Gigginstown House Stud – stopped in his last two races, both at freshman level – was back somewhere near his best as he pounced on leader Cilaos Emery after the final fence to win by a neck. under Jack Kennedy for coach Denise Foster.
Samcro conceded weight all around and drifted towards a starting price of 6-1.
But he showed his well-being by staying close to the pace set by Cilaos Emery throughout, and wouldn’t be turned down in a touching finish – while Peregrine Run, attempting to win this race for a third time in a row, had to be content third, seven lengths still adrift after an error at the last.
Kennedy, who also won the Grade One Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the 2018 Festival on Samcro, was full of praise for his rejuvenated partner.
“He fought really well, was very tough – and we haven’t seen that since winning the Marsh Chase at Cheltenham,” he said.
“It’s great to see him. He got out of the bridle at the start of the straight but held on very well.
“The ground is almost giving way on the pursuit course, and I think better ground could suit him again.”
Samcro could therefore remain busy in the coming months – including a possible offer for the Galway Plate.
Kennedy added: “I think he could have a great summer campaign on good ground – that’s the pitch he wants.
“He beat a good horse today, and it’s great to see him again. The Galway Plate might be an option – but we’ll take him from here and see how we go.”