18 December 2017

The Willie Mullins-trained NEXT DESTINATION (IRE) made it two from two over hurdles when justifying favouritism in the Grade 2 Navan Novice Hurdle on Sunday. Last season’s Champion Bumper fourth made an impressive start to his hurdle career last month, winning by 13 lengths at Naas, and was stepping up to two and a half miles for the first time at the weekend. 

The trip, heavy ground and a slight mistake at the third last were not enough to stop the talented five-year-old, who regained the lead at the final hurdle. David Mullins drove him clear to win by five and a half lengths, as Listed winner Cracking Smart chased him home. 

Owned by Malcolm Denmark and bred by Niall Flynn, NEXT DESTINATION (IRE) sold to Castleby Farm for €9,500 at the Tattersalls Ireland November NH Sale. The son of Dubai Destination is a grandson of Irish Champion Bumper second Blazing Liss (IRE), who was also twice a Listed winner over hurdles. They come from the family of multiple Grade 1 winner Liss A Paoraigh (IRE).

The final race on the Navan card, the Listed “Future Champions’ Bumper, looked to have an apt winner in favourite, RAPID ESCAPE(IRE). Successful on his two previous starts, he registered his most impressive performance to date, winning by all of 11 lengths under Lisa O’Neill. Carrying top weight as the only male in a field of five, he was chased home by Lady Ischia (IRE), who raced home 13 lengths clear of the third horse. 

The Gigginstown House-owned five-year-old gained his first success in a four-year-old maiden at Tinahely, which he took by ten lengths. He had been bought my Aidan O’Ryan for €48,000 at the Goffs Land Rover Sale, having previously sold as a foal to Rathmore Stud for €17,000 at the Tattersalls Ireland November NH Sale. 

RAPID ESCAPE (IRE) was bred by Stephen Dowling out of the Presenting mare Kenzie (IRE), herself a half-sister to Listed winner and Grade 1 third Chauvinist (IRE). He is by King George winner Doyen (IRE), who commands a fee of €5,000 at Sunnyhill Stud, which opens as part of the ITM Irish Stallion Trail in January (learn more here).


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