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Leopardstown win makes Sharjah a Cheltenham fancy but Samcro sinks again

• Willie Mullins aiming Sharjah at Champion Hurdle
• Gordon Elliott baffled by another flop from Samcro

Gordon Elliott’s face betrayed shock rather than surprise after the Ryanair Hurdle here on Saturday, as he watched the big-screen replay of a race when his highly rated hurdler Samcro finished fifth of six behind a comfortable winner in Sharjah. The second viewing was no more palatable than the first: Samcro, the 6-4 favourite, travelled well enough and moved towards the lead between the final two flights but dropped away tamely in a matter of strides as Sharjah took control at the last.

Related: Brilliant Altior keeps unbeaten record but Footpad suffers shock defeat

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