It is unlikely that Samcro will drop back in distance at the Dublin Racing Festival, with a potential clash with Willie Mullins’ Next Destination on the cards in the Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle on February 3.
Bookmakers have reported money for Samcro going back to two miles and meeting Mullins’Sharjah at the inaugural running of the two-day extravaganza.
Gordon Elliott’s six-year-old has an option of taking in the two-mile Paddy Power Future Champions Novice Hurdle, while he is also a possible for the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle against the seniors.
However, the much-hyped son of Germany, as yet to meet defeat, is set instead to go up in distance for the staying event, also an option for the same connections’ impressive Thurles winner Dortmund Park.
"It’s up to Gordon and any of the three races is possible," Eddie O’Leary, Gigginstown racing manager, told RTE.ie. "However, he’ll probably run in the staying race and that should set him up fine for the Ballymore Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham.
"Dortmund Park will probably go to Thurles later in the month and go down the route Milsean took – he ran in the Michael Purcell Memorial Novice Hurdle before running at Cheltenham. Dortmund Park will also run in the Albert Bartlett against Cracking Smart at Cheltenham – all going well of course.
"Dortmund Park is a big, gross horse who should be improving with time. We like him a lot but he’d need another run pre-Cheltenham.
"Cracking Smart will go straight there and Mengli Khan will go straight for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle assuming all is well with them. I think he’s a better horse than he showed when second to Getabird last time and we certainly haven’t lost faith.
"Disko will go straight to Cheltenham if he gets there and if not the plan is Punchestown or Aintree. He's grand but had a little setback; touch wood he’ll be OK. Road To Respect is in the mix for Leopardstown."
O'Leary added that Samcro would remain Jack Kennedy's ride, as would Apples Jade, who goes straight to the Cheltenham Festival. Gigginstown’s Petit Mouchoir is on track for Leopardstown, but his trainer Henry de Bromhead told RTE.ie he was still "undecided" about Monalee going there or to Naas for a different race later this month.
Gigginstown could run all available entries bar Thunder And Roses in the Goffs Thyestes Chase on Thursday but the ground may be too heavy for Mall Dini, said owner Philip Reynolds, who has also entered Presenting Percy in the John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle.
Reynolds said: "I’d like to see some let-up with regard to the rain if they are to run, though I'd like to run them. The ground is testing. The plan is that Presenting Percy will go in the RSA Chase at Cheltenham, Mall Dini the National Hunt Chase as a second-season novice."
Foxrock, a leading fancy for the Foxhunter Chase, made a pleasing first start since joining Alan Fleming at Thurles on Sunday – but the trainer has reservations about his Cheltenham prospects.
He said: "He ran well but had a very hard race; I hope it doesn’t leave a mark. The plan is to go to Punchestown next and then the Foxhunter but he’s big horse who probably needs soft ground.
"He’s been over to Cheltenham twice and not really acted there."
The entries and weights for the five handicap races at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown, meanwhile, were revealed on Monday afternoon.