SAMCRO is “very, very doubtful” to be unleashed in the Champion Hurdle.
The seven-year-old will be given an entry for the Grade 1 at the Cheltenham Festival but unlikely to be seen for the remainder of the season.
Last year’s Festival winner has flopped in three runs so far this season, but tests carried out on the horse over Christmas failed to bring any problems to light.
Racing manager Eddie O’Leary told the Irish Times: “He’ll be kept in the Champion Hurdle in case things go real well. But we’re looking at the longer picture.
“He is very, very, very doubtful for Cheltenham. He won’t be rushed. He’ll come back in his own sweet time – and if he doesn’t this season, he’ll be let off.
“He was always going to go chasing next season regardless.”
When asked if Samcro’s likely absence increased the chance of the mare Apple’s Jade running in the Champion Hurdle, O’Leary said: “I still say we haven’t a single gelding that qualifies for the Mares Hurdle – not one!”
“That’s my answer to that. She qualifies, and that’s still where I would go. It will be there or the Stayers’. But her ideal trip is two and a half miles.”