Cheltenham ’13 – RSA Chase

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The RSA Chase is a Grade 1 steeplechase run on the second day of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival.

Won last year by Bob’s Worth it has often paid to look towards the previous year’s winner of the Albert Barlett Hurdle with a view to finding the winner of this – sadly Brindisi Breeze passed away shortly after The Festival.

A few key stats to keep an eye on for this race are;
12/12 finished in the first two on their most recent start.
12/12 had run at least three times over fences.
11/12 had run between 24 and 55 days prior to the RSA Chase.
11/12 were aged either seven or eight.

Only three five-year-olds have been successful in this race, most recently Star De Mohaison (2006) but prior to that you’d need to go back to Arctic Gold in 1950 for the most recent winning five-year-old of the RSA.

Dynaste
Martaline  (16.0f) — Bellissima De Mai (FR) (Pistolet Bleu (IRE)  (11.2f))
Notes: The current antepost favourite for the race, Dynaste is bidding to become the first horse in history to win both the Feltham Novices and RSA Chase. Some really good horses have tried and failed before, these include Long Run (who went on to win a Gold Cup the following year). History dictates that whilst you can get beaten in the Feltham and come back to win the RSA (Bobs Worth a most recent example) it is virtually impossible to win both and thus you have to be concerned about Dynaste for this event especially when you factor in his current price (9/4 general).

Boston Bob
Bob Back (USA)  (12.3f) — Bavaway (Le Bavard (FR )  (16.4f))
Notes: Will be the best representative of the Albert Bartlett form which usually does so well in this race. Made a winning chasing debut over two and a half miles in workmanlike fashion back in December and made a meal of winning the Grade 1 Dr P.J Moriarty Chase earlier on today over an extra furlong. In fairness he looked beaten shortly before turning for home and once jumping the last he really began to motor, getting up on the line. The form of the race looks to be around the mid-140’s in terms of RPR standards which suggests he still has a bit to find, to be capable of winning your average RSA Chase. He will though, find the extra distance in the RSA Chase to his advantage and therefore has to be respected from a yard that know what it takes to win this race.

Rocky Creek
Dr Massini (IRE)  (12.0f) — Kissantell (IRE) (Broken Hearted  (10.1f))
Notes: This is a horse who I think would go very well in a race of this nature, but as things stand connections are unsure as to his targets and he could end up skipping The Festival altogether and heading to Aintree instead (in a similar vein to Silviniaco Conti in his novice days). The horse he beat on his chasing debut (Molotof) has since won a handicap off a mark of 143, and Rocky Creek has since improved on that effort at Warwick when smashing a fair field on a track which wouldn’t have played to his strengths to the tune of 12 lengths. If he were to go for the race I would certainly see him in the frame but I couldn’t possibly advise a bet at this stage with questions over whether he will actually run still apparent.

Back In Focus
Bob Back (USA)  (12.3f) — Dun Belle (IRE) (Over The River (FR )  (12.7f))
Notes: Looks to have every chance based on form shown thus far, his four length beating of Lyreen Legend (giving him 1lb) reads well in the context that Boston Bob could only manage to defeat that rival by around a length earlier on today off level weights. He then beat Texas Jack by 17L on his most recent start (beaten a NCK by Boston Bob today) over three miles, and you’d have to think if he lined up in the RSA Chase then he would have as good a chance as Boston Bob of taking this prize yet is practically double the price of his stable-mate. The one factor though would be the ground, as it is clear to see from his profile that he absolutely relishes a test and the quicker ground likely at Cheltenham will likely play against him so I can see why they’ve also entered him in the four-miler. If this was to be a three mile slog in the mud I’d fancy his chances but I think he’ll struggle with the likely conditions and for that reason I couldn’t put him forward as a bet at this stage.

Unioniste
Dom Alco (FR)   — Gleep Will (FR) (Cadoudal (FR )  (18.0f))
Notes: Will be bidding to become the first five-year-old since Star De Mohaison to win the RSA Chase, and the fourth in the history of this race to win. The stats look against him but he is a very likeable sort who has looked ahead of his years with his fencing, and won a very competitive handicap at Cheltenham by 11 lengths off a mark of 143. He narrowly held on today at Newbury and I kind of feel he has forced Paul Nicholls to look towards the RSA Chase with the manner of his performances to date. A very likeable horse and one I give a large amount of respect too, I expect him to run very well if he lines up but he might just be too young at this stage in his career to grind it out on the big day against more experienced rivals.

Hadrian’s Approach
High Chaparral (IRE)  (10.2f) — Gifted Approach (IRE) (Roselier (FR )  (16.0f))
Notes: An interesting recruit from the Nicky Henderson stable, and one who could become a major player if Nicky can work the magic on his jumping at home in the run up to the big race in March. He was a close second earlier on today at Newbury to the high-class Unioniste, and but for a mistake at the second last he probably would have won. Prior to that he was second to Dynaste in the Feltham Novices Chase, and approaching the last he was about a length clear of both Third Intention and Molotof, but at the line has put six lengths between himself and Third Intention. Once you factor in how well Third Intention ran at Sandown last weekend in running Captain Conan to an all-out thriller, you start to appreciate that Hadrian’s Approach might not be an after-thought after all. I don’t think he was given a hard race at Kempton after a recent fall at Newbury, nor do I think the track will have suited him; so I think you can upgrade his nine length defeat to Dynaste a touch and with better ground likely at Cheltenham I think that will bring out further improvement also.

OTHERS
Lyreen Legend has come in for some support in the antepost markets over the last few hours, probably due to that run behind Boston Bob earlier on today. However he was beaten by Back In Focus and Boston Bob in recent runs and I can’t see him featuring on the big day.

Lord Windermere looks to have run to form on his last two efforts to around the mid-140’s which leaves him some way short of being good enough to win this race.

Super Duty doesn’t look good enough, and Aupcharlie looks to be heading for the Jewson instead and there doesn’t appear to be much interest in any of the remainder, many of them with alternative targets elsewhere.

VERDICT:
I think there is plenty of merit in the thinking behind the Feltham Novices Chase theory that you can’t win that and then win the RSA Chase. Horses that have tried and failed include Grand Crus, Long Run, Joe Lively and Jair Du Cochet amongst others.

The closest is probably Trabolgan who narrowly failed in a photo finish in the Feltham but improved to win the RSA Chase in March, so I think given his current price at the head of the market Dynaste is worth taking on.

Unioniste looks like being top-class over these sorts of distances next season but I think this race could come a year too soon for him, but expect him to give a good account of himself.

My idea of the winner would probably be Rocky Creek at this stage but the doubts of his participation still remain, so I’m going to give a chance to HADRIANS APPROACH at a double figure price. I think we haven’t seen the best of the son of High Chaparral and watching him throughout his races his action suggests to me he will be better suited to the quicker ground he is likely to encounter at the Cheltenham Festival.

Bred to appreciate the distance, the pace of the race should draw on his abundant stamina as will the distances between flights from the fourth last to the last, putting more emphasis on staying ability and less on jumping which could be crucial if he is in there with a chance at the top of the hill.

1pt win Hadrian’s Approach @ 16-1 with StanJames, WilliamHill and PaddyPower.

 

That’s what I think! What do you think?

One of many racing enthusiasts around the globe, love both flat and national hunt racing. Part-own a racehorse, and used to be involved in a couple of slow greyhounds around the Romford circuit. Favourite NH horses would be; Kauto Star, Denman, Challenger Du Luc, Monsignor, Guitar Pete, Harchibald, Istabraq - the list is effectively endless....@OHRacing Google+

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