2016 Cheltenham Festival – RSA Chase Preview
The RSA Chase is a race for novice chasers, and the 3-miles and 110 yards trip and 19 fences provides them with a test that often proves too much for many novice chasers.
The last 10 renewals has produced 5 winners for both Ireland and England with Champion Trainers Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins claiming two victories each. However, with 3 victories to his name, it is jockey Barry Geraghty who has been most successful in this period, whilst fellow Irish jockeys Ruby Walsh and Davy Russell have also claimed victory twice.
With all that in mind it’s time to take a look at some of the leading protagonists for this season’s race.
No More Heroes 8/1
Gordon Elliott’s ante-post favourite jumped to the head of the market by winning his chase debut, but he looks way too short in the market considering he was beaten over hurdles by many of his likely rivals at the 2015 Cheltenham and Punchestown Festivals.
More Of That 14/1
Won the 2014 World Hurdle on only his 5th racecourse appearance (ridden by Barry Geraghty), after which he was officially rated 169. Flopped on his seasonal debut last season, after which he had the rest of the season off, but if he proves to be the high-class chaser his connections expect he could go off a much shorter price than this. Also won both his Cheltenham starts.
Kiltullagh Vic 16/1
Won the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival, and then proved his stamina by winning a grade 1 novice hurdle at the Punchestown Festival. Had No More Heroes behind him that day.
Minella Rocco 16/1
Highly thought of by the same connections as More Of That, but still only a baby by comparison, and may need soft ground.
Martello Tower 16/1
Proved stamina was his forte when winning last season’s Albert Bartlett with No More Heroes behind him. May be at his best on soft ground, which is never guaranteed at the Cheltenham Festival.
Showed real improvement when stepped-up to 3-miles on his last two starts when winning a grade-1 at Aintree, and finishing a close second to Kiltullagh Vic. Bred to be more of a hurdler than a chaser though.
Value At Risk 20/1
Arrived at Dan Skelton’s yard with a lofty reputation, but didn’t quite deliver, and has been beaten on all 3 starts at Cheltenham.
Beat That 25/1
Claimed 3-mile novice hurdles at both the 2014 Aintree and Punchestown Festivals, and could prove to be a high-class chaser if returning to that sort of form. However connections bypassed Cheltenham with him that year, saying the track wouldn’t suit him as well as Aintree.
More of That has the potential to be a Gold Cup winner of the future, and he could go off a very short-price for this if he wins a couple of novice chases well under Barry Geraghty. However he does have to prove he’s as good a horse as the one that won the World Hurdle, and I’m also backing Kiltullagh Vic who reminds me of a previous Willie Mullins winner of the race in Sir Des Champs, who also won a handicap hurdle at the Festival the year before.
2 points win More Of That @ 14/1 (Betfred, William Hill)
1 point win Kiltullagh Vic @ 16/1 (Various)
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