Heroes steps up in thriller
No More Heroes saw off Shaneshill to land a thrilling Navan Novice Hurdle for Gordon Elliott and Barry Geraghty.
Top bumper performer Shaneshill was all the rage for the Grade Two feature following a comfortable victory on his jumps debut at Fairyhouse last month, and the 4-9 favourite hurdled and travelled fluently in the hands of Ruby Walsh as Shantou Flyer took them along.
Once the leader faded, the big two were left to fight it out and there was little to choose between them as they jumped the final flight, but though Walsh went for everything on the run-in, the 3-1 shot No More Heroes saw out the two-and-a-half-mile trip best and came home a length and three-quarters ahead.
Geraghty, standing in for the suspended Bryan Cooper, said: "I suppose we could have gone quicker, but it was a tactical race.
"He travelled away well and jumped nicely. Shaneshill came to beat me and got half a length up on me, but my fellow found plenty.
"He's not slow, but he will enjoy a trip and will enjoy a fence and he loves a dig in the ground. If you ran him over a trip on nice ground I think he'd be OK, once it's safe."
Elliott added: "I think he's a very nice horse. Barry said they didn't go fast enough for him, and he was a bit guessy at a few of them.
"I'm not sure where he'll go next and Naas (Grade One Lawlors Hotel Novice Hurdle, January 4) may come a bit quick for him.
"He's a three-mile horse for Cheltenham and I'd be looking at the Albert Bartlett. He's a real relaxed horse and does everything at his own pace."
Reflecting on the reverse for Shaneshill, trainer Willie Mullins said: "Gordon's horse is improving and we got beaten. I'd be hoping for better in the future."
RaceBets cut No More Heroes to 8-1 from 12-1 for the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham in March.