National Hunt Chase Tips: Next Destination taken to give Paul Nicholls a Cheltenham day one winner

National Hunt Chase Tips: Paul Nicholls saddles Next Destination
National Hunt Chase Tips: Paul Nicholls saddles Next Destination

National Hunt Chase Tip

Next Destination at 7/2 with bet365.

There is nothing quite like the first day of the Cheltenham Festival with the best in equine sport gathering at the famous Prestbury Park venue. The excitement is reaching fever pitch as it always does at this time of the year, but there will of course be a different feel this week with the noticeable lack of punters in the stands impossible to ignore.

We can, thankfully, still rely on the brilliance of the horses in 2021 with the National Hunt Chase the race under the microscope. 

Punters will be itching to close day one with a winner and it is shaping up to be a fascinating renewal. This race has understandably changed complexion in 2021 with the announcement that amateur jockeys will be unable to ride at the meeting.

No longer can we just scan down the page to find the names of J Codd, D O’Connor and P Mullins before simply picking one of their rides when having a bet. Their brilliance will sadly be missing which means the pros will get a chance in the near four-mile test.

The aforementioned Jamie Codd would have ridden Galvin in the race had he been able to make the trip to the UK and that alone is a clear tip in itself. His price contracted further on Sunday morning when it was announced that potential rival Royal Pagaille will swerve the contest in favour of a tilt at the Gold Cup on Friday.

Galvin was good enough to finish second in the novices’ handicap chase at the Festival last season and has since only improved with four wins on the bounce. Kept fresh since winning at Cheltenham back in October, this race has clearly been the target all season, while a recent move from Gordon Elliott to Ian Ferguson is unlikely to hinder his chances.

Cheltenham Festival Tips

Punters looking to take on the likely favourite Galvin should certainly consider the excellent NEXT DESTINATION. Transferred from Willie Mullins to Paul Nicholls last year, the lightly raced nine-year-old is the class of the field and will surely figure at the pointy end of the contest.

Good enough to beat Delta Work in a Grade 1 novice hurdle at Punchestown back in 2018, Next Destination has suffered injury problems since but has shown plenty of promise since arriving at Ditcheat. He was staying on well when winning at Warwick back in January and looks more than capable of taking on the extra trip of the National Hunt Chase. 

Escaria Ten is another contender to be respected in the care of Denise Foster after three good runs this term, although last years Festival run was poor, and he may need the heavens to open to be seen to best effect.

Elsewhere, Remastered was a fine winner at Ascot over three miles last month for David Pipe and Tom Scudamore and the same combination has been confirmed for the National Hunt Chase. The eight-year-old made all that day before staying on strongly meaning it would be no surprise to see the same tactics employed on Tuesday. Like Escaria Ten though, all his winning has been done with cut in the ground which is not ideal given the drying forecast for Monday and Tuesday in the Cheltenham area.

There is no getting away from the fact that this race has lost some of its lustre in 2021. No longer can it be called “the four miler” and for this year at least we won’t be seeing amateur riders get their big moment but even with those disappointments, it should still be an interesting contest. Galvin has been laid out for this one and will surely run well but drying ground and that slight edge of class means the verdict goes with NEXT DESTINATION and Paul Nicholls.

16:50 Tue - NH Chase
Next Destination silk

Next Destination

placed
Cheltenham Festival Races
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