Buveur D’Air vs Samcro at Newcastle is ON!
Last weekend we had an eagerly anticipated clash with some of the very best chasers taking each other on in the Betfair Chase, and this weekend we have another huge clash, this time over hurdles. Two time Champion Hurdle winner and current champion Buveur D’Air makes his seasonal reappearance in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle, and Samcro comes over from Ireland to take him on. These two are going to take all the headlines, but Summerville Boy is an interesting horse to note, he deserves his place in this field after winning the Supreme Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last season.
This clash is not what either camp want, they would prefer to keep apart for now, but at least the Samcro camp will know where they are with him. There was a question mark over whether he would go chasing or remain hurdling this season, and those questions became stronger when he disappointed on his seasonal reappearance over hurdles. There is also a question mark about whether two miles is his optimum trip either, does he have the pace to keep up with the best and quickest two mile hurdlers? That is something else we are hopefully going to find out this weekend.
For Buveur D’Air, this will be a very different race to what he is used to. Last season he had hardly any competition until the Cheltenham Festival, but this season he goes straight in at the deep end taking on two horses who will hopefully be taking him on at Cheltenham in 2019. He takes a lot of work to get him ready, and there is a chance that this could be too much for him on his first start, although a lot will depend on how Samcro runs and how fit Summerville Boy is.
Samcro is on the comeback trail after such a disappointing run last time out. I expect that Gordon Elliott will have him pretty much spot on for this race, because they will want to know where they are and what they are going to do next. Is Samcro the two mile hurdler they want, or is he a staying chaser, as his point to point win would suggest that he was? These are questions that need to be answered, and I think we will have a better idea about him after this race.
In some cases, because of the big two clashing here, Summerville Boy is going to go under the radar and be the forgotten horse. He is staying hurdling, and looked to have plenty of pace in the Supreme Novice Hurdle last season, so two miles looks to be his optimum trip. We don’t know how good he is, and he has a lot to prove jumping in at the deep end here, but there is a chance that this horse could develop into a live outsider for the Champion Hurdle. I hope they have him fit and ready to run here, because that would give him an advantage over the main two, and put him right in the picture as far as winning goes.