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Next Destination completes hurdles hat-trick to cement Cheltenham credentials

The 8/15 favourite won the Grade One Lawlor’s of Naas Novice Hurdle.

Next Destination and Paul Townend hold off Cracking Smart and Davy Russell.
Next Destination and Paul Townend hold off Cracking Smart and Davy Russell.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

NEXT DESTINATION LOOKS set to head to Cheltenham as one of Willie Mullins’ star challengers after he continued his unbeaten record over jumps at Naas.

The 8/15 favourite kept on to beat Gordon Elliot’s Cracking Smart by a length in the Grade One Lawlor’s of Naas Novice Hurdle.

Duc Des Genievres, another Mullins charge, outran his 25/1 odds to finish three lengths back in third.

But the plaudits went to Next Destination, fourth in last year’s Champion Bumper, who made it three wins from three in his novice season.

He was cut to 7/1 second favourite for the two-and-a-half mile Ballymore Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham, though his chance of landing that prize might well depend on the plans for the highly-touted Samcro.

Gordon Elliot’s six-year-old, who currently heads the market as the 7/4 favourite, was also declared for today’s race but was withdrawn following a dirty scope this week.

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