Lawlor’s Of Naas: Ginto claims Grade One gold for Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy to emerge as Cheltenham Festival hopeful | Racing News

Ginto added his name to an illustrious roll of honor with a frontline victory in Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle.

Envoi Allen and Bob Olinger are the two most recent winners of the Grade One competition, with both horses taking the Ballymore beginner hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival two months later.

After impressing with his first two lumber starts at Navan, Ginto was the 5/4 favorite to successfully move to the top tier and drove from start to finish under Jack Kennedy.

The market leader began to be put under pressure from the home round but continued to find it and ultimately led when he passed the post with just over four lengths in hand on the Grand Jury.

Hollow Games, like the winner trained by Gordon Elliott, was only a neck further behind in third place.

Elliott said, “Jack said he wasn’t making a shot the whole way. He jumped well and stays good. He’s very lazy in front by himself.

“He’s a nice horse. Jamie (Codd) rode him to Navan where he traveled better with a head start. He had to do all the donkey work today and a better race suited him better.

“He is a first Grade One winner for Bective (Stud, owners). They are big supporters of Cullentra and Irish racing. They are on vacation in Dubai and will watch it and hopefully enjoy it.”

Coach Gordon Elliott poses with the Lawlor’s Of Naas trophy

Coral has reduced Ginto’s odds for Ballymore to 8/1 from 16/1, while it’s 5/1 from 8/1 for Albert Barlett Novizi’s longer hurdle. Betfair offers him an 8/1 chance for both races.

“I think it will stay further, I think all it does is stay,” added Elliott

“We had to stretch them and if it turned into a sprint it wouldn’t have worked.

“Hollow Games worked very well. He was stopped a couple of times and probably should have been second.”

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