An intriguing clash of the very best novice hurdles,
including Samcro, Next Destination and Getabird, is very much on the cards in
the Grade 1 Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle at Naas Racecourse on Sunday,
January 7, 2018.
Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins have dominated the race in
recent years and not surprisingly the country’s leading trainers hold the
strongest of hands for the first Grade 1 to be run in Ireland in the New Year.
Successful with Death Duty in the 2017 renewal, Gordon
Elliott has made eight entries for the €90,000 event headed by the unbeaten Samcro
which had little difficulty in adding the Grade 3 Monksfield Novice Hurdle at
Navan late last month to his maiden hurdle success at Punchestown in October.
Elliott has also entered Mengli Khan, the impressive winner
of the Grade 1 Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse and
Cracking Smart which won many admirers when winning at listed level at Cork
five weeks ago.
Champion trainer Willie Mullins is responsible for 19 of the
42 entries and the exciting Next Destination, a winner at Naas a month ago,
Punchestown winner Getabird and runaway Cork winner Fabulous Saga feature
highly among his team.
Noel Meade is well represented with six entries including Moyross,
unbeaten in two starts over hurdles while Joseph O'Brien has four entries to
choose from, notably Royal Bond Novice Hurdle runner-up Early Doors and Navan
maiden hurdle winner Speak Easy.
The Jessica Harrington-trained Someday is to be aimed at a
maiden hurdle ahead of his challenge for the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle
while Paul Nolan could rely on narrow Fairyhouse winner Discorama. Herefordshire
trainer Kerry Lee has entered her Irish-import, Storm Control.
Tom Ryan, Manager of Naas Racecourse, said, “Now in its fourth
renewal as a Grade 1 contest, the Lawlor's of Naas Hurdle has become a real
highlight of the National Hunt calendar. The first three renewals have been
really exciting, and with the continued valued support of Lawlor's we look
forward to making the 2018 event even better.”
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