PUNCHESTOWN SUNDAY: SHAMROCK looks ahead to this afternoon’s feature Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown. The big talking point is whether Samcro will run or not.

The most crucial aspect of today’s Morgiana Hurdle is the going.

The race promises to be a cracker but Samcro’s participation is very much in the balance. He’s still a runner at the time of writing but a lot will depend on whether the official description of Good. Good to Yielding in places is enough to satisfy Gordon Elliott that there’s enough juice in the ground and a late decision is likely to be made. There isn’t any rain forecast during the afternoon and it’s ominous that Jessie Harrington has pulled out Supasundae from the race deeming the ground to be too quick.

Without Samcro too, the race would then be at the mercy of last year’s winner Faugheen who loves Punchestown and romped to a 16 length success in this 12 months ago.

I hope we get to see Samcro as he still has questions to answer. He extended his unbeaten run to seven when winning the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival but then fell in the Betdaq 2% Commission Punchestown Champion Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival and was disappointingly brushed aside by Bedrock at Down Royal on his seasonal reappearance. Assuming he needed the run, this will be his chance today to prove he still has the incredible ability he showed last season.

With the uncertainly about Samcro’s participation I’m looking elsewhere for the nap and Blow By Blow fits the bill in the chasing feature of the day the Florida Pearl Novice Chase at 1.40pm.

Gordon Elliott’s runner made a stunning chasing debut at Galway and will be even better suited by a strong test of pace which he is likely to get here with Nick Lost likely to take them along.

NAP: Blow By Blow (1.40 Punchestown)

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