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Bigger targets ahead for smart Mullins novice Next Destination

Few could argue Saturday's Hospitality At Naas Maiden Hurdle, won by Next Destination, was not one of the strongest races of its kind this season, and winning trainer Willie Mullins is now eyeing a step up in class for his impressive victor.

Entering the contest with excellent form in bumpers, having finished fourth in the Cheltenham Champion event, the Malcolm Denmark-owned five-year-old powered clear from Someday, Paloma Blue, Laverteen and Pallasator to score by 13 lengths.

Mullins said on Sunday: "He won well at Naas and looks a stayer. I'm not sure where he'll run next but he could go to Navan for a Grade 2 two-and-a-half-mile novice on December 17."

That Navan novice hurdle has been a happy hunting ground for Mullins: he has taken the spoils with Mikael D'Haguenet, Boston Bob, Pont Alexandre, Briar Hill and Bellshill in the last decade.

Next Destination is a best-priced 25-1 for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, 14-1 second favourite for the Ballymore and 16-1 favourite for the Albert Bartlett.

In the more immediate future, it appears all systems go for Faugheen in the Unibet Morgiana Hurdle next Sunday after pleasing Mullins in his work at the weekend.

He said: "Faugheen worked well yesterday [Saturday] and once everything goes well with him during the week he'll start back in the Morgiana at Punchestown on Sunday."

JP McManus enjoyed a treble at Naas on Saturday and representative Frank Berry reported Jezki and Campeador are intended challengers to Faugheen for this weekend's €85,000 prize.

Gordon Elliott, in flying form on Sunday at Naas with a four-timer, suggested A Toi Phil and Tiger Roll will probably make up his team for the Clonmel Oil Chase on Thursday, a race he has never won before.

 

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