The RSA Chase has come to prominence for producing future Gold Cup winners of late, and this year Don Poli looks to add another notch onto that roll-call having taken this race twelve months ago.
Last year Don Poli became the first horse in the last 11 years that hadn’t run within the calendar year, and also took the race off the back of just two starts over fences.
Some key stats to keep an eye on when assessing this race;
- 10/11 winners had run that calendar year
- 10/11 winners had between 3 and 5 chase starts
- 11/11 winners had between 7 and 12 races over fences and hurdles
- 9/11 winners had previously tasted defeat over fences
- 9/11 winners were aged 7
- 10/11 winners had finished in the first 2 last time (exception finished 3rd in G1 btn 0.5L)
- 8/11 winners returned 10/1 or less.
Cheltenham 2016 – RSA Chase Contenders
More Of That
Beneficial — Guigone (FR) (Esprit Du Nord (USA))
Notes: Winner of the 2014 World Hurdle, he has looked every inch as good since going over fences this term and I was most taken with the intelligence he has shown over his fences. There were rumours of them going straight for the Gold Cup with him, attempting to do what Coneygree did twelve months ago but it now looks like they’ll be heading for this contest which looks right up his street. The step up to three-miles over fences look sure to bring about added improvement which makes for an enthralling clash between him and No More Heroes.
No More Heroes
Presenting — What A Breeze (IRE) (Naheez (USA))
Notes: Always been thought of as a chaser and has made little time in hitting that theory home with three impressive wins over fences so far. Improving with each start he won with consummate ease the last day at Leopardstown and looks absolutely tailor made for this race. The only concern I’d have would be were the ground to dry out, if he would be as effective as we’ve seen on bottomless ground in Ireland. He ran a really good race in the Albert Bartlett last season and looks certain to be on the premises once again.
Kayf Tara — Franciscaine (FR) (Legend Of France (USA))
Notes: Has improved with each start over fences, and that was no more evident with an impressive success in the Towton at Wetherby when last seen. His general form around Cheltenham is fairly solid (21PF12) and although was beaten on merit by Seeyouatmidnight when the pair met in January, you can expect him to run a big race in this and gets a 3lb swing at the weights.
Midnight Legend — Morsky Baloo (Morpeth)
Notes: Flies the flag for the north and has the beating of Blaklion on their Cheltenham running. Winner of an egg-and-spoon race at Newcastle in warm-up for this, Jumps well in the main and looks like the RSA test will be right up his street, very much a player and one the north can get excited about next week.
Vyta Du Roc
Lion Noir — Dolce Vyta (FR) (Grand Tresor (FR))
Notes: A horse that’ll never amaze viewers with how he wins his races, and only just does enough. This race looks tailored for him, but whether he’ll be good enough on the top table is certainly open to question. Couldn’t be completely discounted as it’s hard to see just how much improvement is under the bonnet but I’m fairly confident he won’t be good enough.
Roi Des Francs
Poliglote — Grande Souveraine (FR) (Sillery (USA))
Notes: Currently prominent towards the fore of the NH Chase but rumours from the Mullins camp in recent days suggest he could be switching towards this race, in much the same fashion stable-mate Don Poli did twelve months ago with great success. A bold fluent jumper who will relish the stamina test the RSA Chase presents but there are two or three classier types in this contest which should have his number.
Definitely Red currently holds an entry in both this and the four-miler, but I personally feel the NH Chase would be more tailored to his needs. A dour stayer who will be running on when many have cried enough, he doesn’t quite have the class for this but he’s a very likeable sort.
Le Mercurey a good hurdler in France but hasn’t quite gone on over here as expected. Will be going for this race but looks a case of making up the numbers more than anything.
Monksland was a really good staying hurdler earlier on in his career and although he hasn’t quite reached those heights over fences, does have small each-way claims in this providing his jumping is on point.
Pont Alexandre has always had a lofty reputation right back to his hurdling days. Injury kept him off the track for well over a year and hasn’t quite hit the heights expected of him on his return over fences.
A race which on paper looks to be between the two at the head of the market in MORE OF THAT and NO MORE HEROES. Both haven’t put a foot wrong over fences so far, and if they turn up in top form next week we are in for a mouth-watering clash.
Of the remainder Blaklion and Seeyouatmidnight look the best of the rest, with Vyta Du Roc likely to outrun his odds in his customary workmanlike fashion.
It would appear that every man and his dog are tipping up More Of That at the moment, but I’m going to give a chance to NO MORE HEROES to continue his upward curve over fences and add a third grade one to his CV this campaign.