The first back-to-back victor of the hurdling highlight since Hardy Eustace in 2004 and 2005, Buveur D'Air, the 4/6 favourite was always prominent under Barry Geraghty and despite being headed by the Willie Mullins-trained Melon (7/1), the seven-year-old son of Crillon rallied tenaciously under Geraghty to win by a neck in a thrilling finish. My horse is as tough as nails. "That is a big relief, you are expected to collect and he has done".
A novice with real class, a frightening turn of foot and just a galloping speed that no horse has even come close to matching; Samcro has the potential to be a real superstar and his date with destiny comes at Cheltenham this afternoon.
Elliott could also hold the key here, however, with last year's victor Cause Of Causes bidding for an astonishing fourth straight Festival win under Jamie Codd.
"I missed last season and it's nice to ride a big victor for the boss (owner JP McManus) and doubly to do it for Nicky".
"I think he proved there that he is a better horse than past year. He dug deep and scrapped it out". Two years ago, we saw seven horses lose their lives during the highly anticipated racing festival. They both looked very strong in the finish.
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Willie Mullins was thrilled with the performance of the well-backed Melon and he could face a rematch with Buveur D'Air at Aintree over the longer 2m4f distance. "He was a bookmaker, I was a punter and half a bookmaker, and at the time they felt more important than this victor today". They're hoping this petition will gain enough signatures to be considered as a debate in parliament, where surely some changes would be made to the current format, which has failed on so many occasions. He will love the ground and despite being more exposed than other horses in the race, he could end up outrunning his 20/1 price.
"I'm delighted with him as it's vindicated what we have always thought about him".
It is very likely that we haven't seen the last of the fatalities from this year's festival, as people are expecting the final count to repeat the horrors of the last few editions.
Teenager Jack Kennedy's mount is the new star of irish racing and Elliott said: "Samcro is an absolute pleasure to train". I've been hugely impressed by BLACKBOW (IRE), who won the best bumper of the season when beating a classy field chockful of former winners at Leopardstown's Dublin Festival on February 3.
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He added: "Ruby (Walsh) said Faugheen just wants a longer trip nowadays, he just lacks the spark for two miles".
Mullins said of Footpad: "This fellow could be a Gold Cup horse".
"It's right on the same point, but until we get the X-rays we can't be sure".
"There's not much more to say".
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