Samcro suffers shock defeat at Down Royal

Bedrock inflicted a surprise defeat on the returning Samcro in the WKD Hurdle at Down Royal.

The Gordon Elliott-trained Samcro carried all before him in the novice division last season, winning his first four starts including the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

He fell on his final outing of the campaign in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle and after much deliberation during the summer months, it was confirmed on Monday he would remain over the smaller obstacle this term – rather than pursue a career over fences – with a view to having a tilt at the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

The Gigginstown House Stud-owned six-year-old was a prohibitively priced 4-9 favourite for his comeback under Jack Kennedy and all appeared to be going according to plan for much of the two-mile contest.

Samcro got a lead from Galway Hurdle winner Sharjah and Ruby Walsh before moving to the front rounding the home turn, but he did not quicken as anticipated on the run to the final flight and was soon claimed by Iain Jardine’s Scottish raider Bedrock.

The 12-1 shot, who won a Grade Three at Tipperary last month, picked up well on the run-in and was ultimately well on top at the finish in the hand of Rachael Blackmore.

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