Cheltenham Festival: Is Samcro overhyped by the public?

3 months ago

If you’ve heard anything about next week’s Cheltenham Festival, it’s probably that you should be backing Gordon Elliot’s ‘Samcro’. The remarkable chestnut is currently unbeaten in six races, following a dazzling display in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown last month. But has the 5yo been overhyped by the public? Or can we expect another brilliant performance at the greatest show on turf?

The answer of course is unclear; however, syndicate organiser Nick Bradley has been quick to question the horse’s chances. In fact, Bradley – a former professional punter, is so confident that Samcro will not win, that he is offering to pay the training fees on any shares bought in Nick Bradley Racing between now and the big event  – which could end up costing him a tonne of cash.

“Nobody has told me anything, I just think Samcro has been overhyped by the press and overhyped by the public,” said Bradley.

“If I wanted anyone to take notice of my company, then if there’s a horse who will be in the headlines next week it will be Samcro, so I would oppose him. Bookies do this all the time and it’s just me being creative, promoting.”

Bradley’s Doctor Phoenix is also set to feature at Cheltenham next week, who is also trained by George Elliot. Yet despite this, the syndicate operator is not claiming to haver any insider knowledge.

“I phrased it this way because I thought most people would be pro-Samcro,” added Bradley. “I had 1,100 hits on my website last night, which is a record number – I normally average 200 – and sold around half a dozen shares.

“It’s effectively half a year’s training fees. If somebody bought a ten per cent share it would save them the best part of £2,000.

“I bought 40 horses last year and have shares left in two, if you add up the percentages. It’s a bit like putting sandals in the shoe shop sale in September.”

Clever marketing? Or does Bradley know something we don’t?

Either way the fact remains. Samcro is a huge odds-on favourite for the Ballymore Novice Hurdle, and as we edge ever closer to Cheltenham the hype continues to grow. Keep an eye on this one!

Photos: Getty