Davy Russell will ride Samcro should he take his chance in the Unibet Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown on Sunday.

Russell will replace usual rider Jack Kennedy, who is serving a suspension.

Gordon Elliott has stated his intention to declare last season's Ballymore Novices' Hurdle winner, who was surprisingly beaten on his return at Down Royal by Bedrock in the WKD Hurdle.

An unseasonably dry autumn has played havoc with racecourses, with Punchestown starting a selective watering programme on Thursday.

Elliott had intended to run Cheltenham Festival winner Shattered Love at Clonmel on Thursday, but she was a late absentee on account of the ground, despite rain through the afternoon.

"Davy Russell will ride him," Elliott told At The Races.

"We're declaring these horses, but it's just been an extreme year with the ground being so good.

"We're all pulling our hair out, if we take them out late we're getting fined, which is a bit harsh, but we can't chance these horses.

"He'll definitely be declared, as will Tombstone."

With Willie Mullins likely to be represented by former champion hurdler Faugheen, Elliott added: "No matter where you go there'll be something to take on, you can't tippy-toe around like you can in England."

Shattered Love will now head for the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown.

Elliott said of his JLT Novices' Chase winner: "We brought her down hoping, but it's genuine good ground.

"We waited until after the chase to decide but the jockeys, both Davy Russell and Jack Kennedy, said it was too quick to run her.

"I was mad keen to run her, she was a short-priced favourite, but in the interests of the horse you can't run her.

"She'll go for the John Durkan now, she'll get 7lb off the boys."