Next Destination maintained his unbeaten record over fences with a tenacious success in the McCoy Contractors Civils And Infrastructure Hampton Novices’ Chase at Warwick.
Having made a winning chase debut in a Grade Two at Newbury in November, the Paul Nicholls-trained nine-year-old added to that with victory at the same level in the three-mile contest.
Despite being the first off the bridle midway down the back straight, the 10-11 favourite responded well for pressure under Harry Cobden to take a slender advantage turning for home.
As Golan Fortune dropped away on the run to the last, it was left to Fiddlerontheroof to thrown down a challenge, but the Colin Tizzard-trained runner old could not quite get on terms, with a length and a half separating the pair at the line.
Cobden said: “He is a little bit more relaxed now and when he has been asked he has jumped pretty well. He has jumped well on the whole.
“He is a bit older and is getting slightly lazier. I don’t mind pushing them for a bit if they keep finding and to be honest he plugged on really well. He swung into the straight and was the one to be shot at. He was long over two out and winged the last and stayed galloping.
“I think in a race where there are more runners you could run him third or fourth and it would be nice to have one to aim at with him. He looks like he stays very well and he has won here and at Newbury so the trip is not an issue.
“I’d say both were good races and he has come out and performed both times, so you have got to be pleased with him.”
Although Next Destination was made a 14-1 chance for what was known as the RSA at the Cheltenham Festival by William Hill and 12-1 for the same race by Coral, Cobden believes the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree could be a more suitable option.
He added: “I don’t known if he is an RSA horse. The three-mile race at Aintree might suit him. Paul might get him home tonight and think RSA it is, or say ‘right, we will take our time and go for Aintree’.
“One thing I do know is the be all and end all is not Cheltenham in Paul’s mind, so Aintree is on the cards.”