Week 19

Week 19

26/07 - This week we have another long shot, never finishing outside of the top four across his entire career, including three times at the festival. The horse I’ve gone for this time is Next Destination in the Gold Cup at a ridiculous 80/1.

After finishing fourth in the champion bumper for Willie Mullins, he proved himself as a top-class hurdler. Winning his maiden by 13 lengths over 2 and a half miles, and then winning his next two, a grade two and a grade one over the same trip. He was then third in the Ballymore beaten by Samcro, who had a little too much pace for him. He confirmed his ability again when stepped up to three miles at the Punchestown festival, winning the novice grade one there from Delta Work which is some very strong form, I think the extra trip really brought the best out of him.

He then wasn’t seen for nearly three years due to a few injuries, being transferred to Paul Nicholls ahead of a novice chasing campaign. On his first start for Nicholls, he stayed over hurdles running in the grade two West Yorkshire hurdle, where he was a good second. Giving away weight to the high-class Roksana after nearly three years off, was an excellent performance to my eye. The next time we saw him was just a month later where on his first chase start he won the grade two John Francombe novice, taking well to the larger obstacles. He then backed that up with another win at the same level in the Hampton Novices’ beating Fiddlerontheroof who I think is a decent yardstick. Perhaps disappointingly, we didn’t get to see him clash with Monkfish in the RSA, with connections opting to miss that in favour of the slightly weaker opposition in the National Hunt Chase. He didn’t win but did himself justice with a good second, splitting the primed for the race Galvin, and very well backed Escaria Ten. With Monkfish running a little flat at Cheltenham and having been beaten subsequently by Colreevy, connections will maybe be kicking themselves a little that they didn’t opt to take him on in the RSA. The Gold Cup is a very difficult race to win obviously, but with festival form figures of 4th, 3rd and 2nd respectively, I’d love him to continue that trend and go one better next year. With his injury record and apparent fragility, there’s always the risk he doesn’t run, but either way though 80/1 is a huge price for a horse of his talent, even the 66/1 on offer is big when some bookies have him as short as 25/1.