Next Destination impressive on hurdling debut at Naas

Willie Mullins’ five-year-old wins comfortably but Bacardys beaten on chase debut

Willie Mullins saw Next Destination make an impressive hurdlin debut at Naas. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Willie Mullins saw Next Destination make an impressive hurdlin debut at Naas. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

 

High-class bumper performer Next Destination was a deeply impressive winner of the Hospitality At Naas Maiden Hurdle at Naas on Saturday.

The Willie Mullins-trained five-year-old was fourth behind the ill-fated Fayonagh in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham in March and was a 4-1 shot for his hurdling debut under Paul Townend.

Carrying the colours of Malcolm Denmark, Next Destination travelled strongly and showed a fine turn of foot after the final flight to put his rivals to bed by upwards of 13 lengths.

Someday was second ahead of 7-4 favourite Paloma Blue in third.

The giant Pallasator, who won a charity race on his recent debut for Gordon Elliott, was ultimately well-beaten in fifth place on his jumping introduction.

Townend said: “He was very good. I was very taken by that (performance), in that ground on his first run of the season.

“He jumped great and I couldn’t believe how well he picked up from the back of the last in that ground.

“There were a lot of reputations going into it and he hasn’t done himself any harm.

“I’d imagine he could go further, but the pace he showed there, I’d say there’s a lot of options for him.”

Earlier Ball D’Arc gave weight and a beating to some talented rivals in the Grade Three Poplar Square Chase.

Despite having to concede 9lb all round, Gordon Elliott’s charge was the 6-4 favourite for this two-mile contest, with Jack Kennedy doing the steering.

American Tom jumped accurately at the head of affairs for much of the way, but having been off the track since falling here in January, he began to falter between the final two fences.

Turning out just seven days after finishing third at Down Royal, the Gigginstown House Stud-owned Ball D’Arc came home strongly to see off the ultra-consistent Ordinary World by five lengths, with American Tom third.

Elliott said: “Michael (O’Leary, owner) really gets the credit for this one as I wanted to give him an extra few days and go for the Clonmel Oil Chase. He said they had no runner in this and to let him take his chance.

“Michael is keen to support all these Graded races.

“It was a good performance giving them plenty of weight and he’d be better over two an a half (miles).

“He could go for the John Durkan (at Punchestown, December 10th).”

Bacardys

Meanwhile dual Grade One-winning hurdler Bacardys was the even-money favourite to make a winning debut over fences for Mullins and Townend in the Paddy Power Fast & Convenient Phone Betting Beginners Chase.

However, a few slow leaps put him on the back foot and while he did make some inroads in the straight, he had to make do with minor honours in third.

Victory went to Elliott’s largely unconsidered 33-1 shot Mossback, who scored by three lengths under Kennedy from Snow Falcon.

Elliott said: “That was a bit of a surprise. I thought he’d want further and he does want further as he was off the bridle but kept galloping.”

Early Doors claimed his second victory in the space of a fortnight with a smart display in the Fishery Lane Hurdle.

Joseph O’Brien’s four-year-old made a big impression on his bumper debut at Punchestown before finishing third in the Goffs Land Rover Bumper in April.

He justified odds-on favouritism on his hurdling debut at Wexford in late October and was a 3-1 shot stepped up to Grade Three level.

Early Doors travelled well into the home straight and while 5-4 favourite Meri Devie would have made more of a race for it but for encountering traffic problems, O’Brien’s charge passed the post two lengths to the good, providing owner JP McManus and jockey Mark Walsh with their second winner on the card.

The owner’s racing manager, Frank Berry, said: “He ground it out well.

“Mark liked him at Wexford. He was a bit green there and he thought he’d improve, which he has. He jumped a bit novicey early but he got the hang of it well. You would have to be pleased with him.

“It was nice to get today out of the way and we’ll see where we go now. He handled the ground quite well and hopefully will go on from there.”

In the opener dual bumper winner Red Jack made a successful start to his jumping career in the Irish Stallion Owners EBF Maiden Hurdle.

Noel Meade’s youngster had the high-class pair of Debuchet and Le Richebourg behind when making a winning debut at the County Kildare venue in January and having followed up in the valuable sales bumper at Fairyhouse on Easter Sunday, he was a prohibitively priced 1-3 favourite for his seasonal reappearance and hurdling debut.

The JP McManus-owned four-year-old jumped well in the main in the hands of Mark Walsh and responded to his rider’s urgings in the straight to score by a fairly comfortable three and a half lengths from Stooshie.

Meade said: “Mark said they went slow and it turned into a bit of a sprint, which is probably not up his alley. He’d prefer a good gallop.

“His jumping was adequate and he probably needed it a bit but it’s nice to get off to a winning start.

“He’s entered in the Royal Bond (Fairyhouse, December 3rd), but we’ll have to see.”

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