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Next Destination tops Albert Bartlett market after Cracking Smart ruled out of Cheltenham

By Geoffrey Riddle@Louchepunter
Sat 3 Mar 2018

By Geoffrey Riddle

Next Destination is the new favourite for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle after former market leader Cracking Smart was ruled out of the Cheltenham Festival on Saturday.

Next Destination Naas 1 Next Destination beat Cracking Smart in the Lawlor's Of Naas Novice Hurdle (PA).

Cracking Smart was trading at 6-1 before the news broke, but has been replaced at the head of the betting by Willie Mullins’s runner, who has twice beaten Cracking Smart over two and a half miles this season.

(Click here for Albert Bartlett stats, trends, history and replays)

Next Destination is as short as 11-4 with Boyelsports for the three-mile contest on March 16, but Bet365 are a best-priced 5-1.

’Unfortunately Cracking Smart had a setback so he is out of the Albert Bartlett and will not run for the remainder of the season,’’ trainer Gordon Elliott said on his Betfair blog.

In a stable tour to his Cheltenham Festival prospects last week, Mullins was hardly set on sending Next Destination up against the much-vaunted Samcro in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

“I think he will go to the Ballymore along with Real Steel,” Mullins said. “Samcro looks an Irish banker but we have to run something!”

Next Destination is entered in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle and the Sky Bet Supreme Novics' Hurdle.

A few days previously Nicky Henderson made it clear in his stable tour that Santini, now a general 9-2 second favourite for the Albert Bartlett on March 16, would run in the three-mile contest alongside stable companions Chef Des Obeaux and Mr Whipped.

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