'Nationalist' owner's horse wins big race at Punchestown festival

'Nationalist' owner's horse wins big race at Punchestown festival

Willie Mullins trains Next Destination

A horse owned by Malcolm Denmark, the owner of Iconic Newspapers, which owns The Nationalist, has landed a Grade 1 hurdle at the Punchestown festival.

Trained by Willie Mullins, Next Destination stayed on well under Paul Townend to deny Gordon Elliott's Delta Work and English raider Kilbricken Storm in the Grade 1 Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle.

Malcolm Denmark owns Iconic Newspapers, the company operating The Nationalist, as well as 14 newspaper titles in both print and online across Ireland, including the Limerick Leader, Leinster Leader and Leinster Express. 

Next Destination had finished third behind Gordon Elliott's Samcro in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham last month, and was sent over a longer three-mile trip for this race which offered prize money of €59,000 to the winner. 

The win comes just ten days after Denmark's star stayer Pleasant Company, also trained by Mullins, lost out by a nose in the Aintree Grand National. On that occasion, Gordon Elliott landed the spoils with Tiger Roll as both trainers continue their battle for the Irish trainer's championship title.

Next Destination's success also offers much needed relief for Paul Townend who was handed a 21-day ban on the first day of the Punchestown festival after veering away from the last flight onboard Al Boum Photo, carrying out Finian's Oscar and leaving the door open for The Storyteller to win.

Next Destination has been an exceptional novice hurdler this year and it now seems likely he will be sent chasing in 2019.