Betfair Ambassador Gordon Elliott sends out Cheltenham Festival 2018 'Irish Banker' Samcro on Wednesday, here he gives his thoughts on his chances and his other runners on Ladies Day...
"Samcro is an absolute pleasure to train, he just does everything so easy at home and is very obliging and laid back. Unbeaten in his six starts he always does it well but obviously this will be the biggest task of his career"
Samcro's biggest task of his career
Samcro is an absolute pleasure to train, he just does everything so easy at home and is very obliging and laid back. Unbeaten in his six starts he always does it well but obviously this will be the biggest task of his career and he may not find things quite as easy as he has done in recent runs but we are still confident. On his latest appearance dropping back to 2m at Leopardstown he was again impressive and absolutely loved the ground so will enjoy the current conditions. He is our best chance today and I am very much looking forward to him running.
More rain will only enhance Dounikos' chances
Dounikos is a horse who will appreciate the bit of rain Cheltenham have had, he has really come into himself this season registering his first Graded success at Limerick ahead of stablemate Tombstone over Christmas. This is a really competitive contest but I think he has all the attributes needed, he jumps well, stays and is as honest as they come. The step back up in trip will suit and any further rain will only add to his chances so I'd expect a good run from the seven-year-old.
Barra capable of sneaking a place
Barra ran very well here last year in the Mares Novice Hurdle finishing second to Let's Dance, she's a tough little bit of stuff and I was happy with her latest outing at Leopardstown, she always gives a good account of herself and while this is a tough task for her today she benefits from the mares allowance I wouldn't be surprised if she managed to sneak into some prize money.
Diamond King - our 2016 Coral Cup winner - ran well at Punchestown on New Years Eve, finishing a close third to Killultagh Vic, I don't think the ground will be too much of a problem for him today, he's won on soft and heavy ground. While I am expecting a decent run from him he would need to pull out all the stops to win this again but that's not to say he doesn't have a chance of going close and I would love to see him back to his best.
Hopeful we can triumph again
Bless The Wings was most recently seen here back in December winning well ahead of Cantlow, I was delighted to see him back in the winners enclosure after a couple of head scratching runs. We know he absolutely loves Cheltenham and jumps for fun, all three of my runners here went over to Cheltenham recently for a school around the track and I was delighted with them all.
Cause Of Causes is a horse whose spark ignites at Cheltenham, now a three time Festival winner he heads back to the course to try to pick up this race for a second time and is in top form - he is very easy to do everything with at home and is a bit of a favourite amongst the staff so we would all love to see him return victorious once again! Jamie Codd gets a fantastic tune out of this horse and takes the reins again today.
Tiger Roll is another who absolutely loves Cheltenham, he of course won well here last year under Lisa O'Neill and is also a Triumph Hurdle winner. He is in wonderful form at home and heads to the Festival looking a million dollars so I would be very hopeful of a good run under Keith Donoghue. I think between the three runners here we are very well represented and I'd be hopeful we can retain the trophy here.
Mitchouka can make his presence felt
Mitchouka is an improving sort who is pleasing us at the moment, he was back in front on his latest start at Fairyhouse ahead of Mastermind and prior to that finished eight lengths ahead of Veneer Of Charm at the same track meaning I would expect him to have the upper hand on him again today, he has been working very well at home, this is his trip and I would be very hopeful of a good performance.
Veneer Of Charm is a nice sort, he won well on his yard debut in December and he will definitely win plenty of races but this would be a huge ask at this stage of his career and although I expect to see a good run from him he will need to improve on recent runs to trouble the judge.
Expect a big run from Felix
Felix Desjy is a horse who has been impressing me, I was very happy with both of his winning Bumper runs and he has improved and matured at home since. I wasn't sure if he would head to Cheltenham but Michael and Eddie were keen for him to go and he certainly has the ability. This is competitive as always but we are expecting a big run.
**Best chance of the day: Samcro**