The RSA Chase is run on the Old Course on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival and this Grade 1 Chase is an obvious breeding ground for future Cheltenham Gold Cup winners. It is open to horses aged five and older and has been sponsored by the RSA Insurance Group under its present or previous banners since 1974.
Top RSA Chase Trainers
Willie Mullins is currently the joint-top RSA Chase trainer having won four of the last 20 renewals. Nicky Henderson also enjoys a fine record in the race with three winners in the last 14 years.
Top RSA Chase Jockeys
Pat Taafe boasts a win aboard Arkle amongst his five RSA Chase winners but, with the last of his five wins recorded in 1970, Barry Geraghty and Davy Russell have become the jockeys to have on your side. Geraghty had ridden three of the last 13 winners, whilst Russell has won three of the last nine.
Best Age for RSA Chase Winners
An amazing 15 of the last 20 RSA Chase winners have been seven-year-olds, with the other five winners comprising one five-year-old, two six-year-olds, and two eight-year-olds.
Ireland vs England
The Prestbury Cup has been a wonderful addition to the Cheltenham Festival in recent seasons and, like many races, Ireland have enjoyed the most success with six wins to England’s four in the last decade.
Typical Routes to RSA Chase Success
Many Irish runners used to typically run in the Dr JP Moriarty Novice Chase before running in the RSA Chase and, whilst not all winners won that race over 2 miles and 5 furlongs, Cooldine, Weapon’s Amnesty, Bostons Angel, and Lord Windermere all contested it. However, the most recent Irish winners have given that race a miss, with Don Poli taking winning the three-mile Topaz Chase prior to his win, whilst Presenting Percy ran second in the Red Mills Chase before heading to Cheltenham.
Two of the last four English winners ran in the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot, with Bobs Worth finishing second and O’Faolains Boy winning. However, Blaklion ran in the Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby and Might Bite was given a confidence booster in a novice chase at Doncaster.
Previous Cheltenham Festival Records of RSA Chase Winners
Only two of the last 10 winners of the RSA Chase had not ran at a previous Cheltenham Festival and they were Lord Windermere and Might Bite, though Might Bite had run three times at different Cheltenham meetings.
Of the others, Don Poli had won the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle, whilst Presenting Percy had won the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle the previous year. Meanwhile, Cooldine had run in the Cheltenham Bumper two years before.
The other five winners had al run in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. Weapons Amnesty and Bobs Worth both won that event, whilst O’Faolain’s Boy finished fourth, and Blaklion and Bostons Angel were both pulled up.
2019 RSA Chase Interesting Contenders
Santini has to be of interest as he’s a seven-year-old trained by Nicky Henderson that ran well in third in the 2018 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. He might not be as good as the stable’s Bobs Worth but looked decent on debut at Newbury and wasn’t disgraced going right-handed for the first time when third in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Christmas. However, he looks priced-up on promise rather than substance.
Gordon Elliott has yet to train a winner of the RSA Chase but owners Gigginstown have enjoyed success with both Don Poli and Weapons Amnesty. He also has an interesting profile having won last season’s Pertemps Handicap Final, just like last year’s winner Presenting Percy, whilst he’s also won a three-mile Grade 1 novice chase at Leopardstown. The DR JP Moriarty is reportedly on his agenda and winning that will cement his obvious claims. He’s also ridden regularly by Davy Russell, and the only negative appears to be he’s only a six-year-old.
Paul Nicholls may not have trained a winner of the RSA Chase since the mighty Denman in 2007, but Topofthegame finished second in the Coral Cup at last season’s Cheltenham Festival and finished in front of Santini in this season’s Kauto Star Novices’ Chase. Looks likely to keep on improving and it could be of interest if winning something like the Reynoldstown Chase on his way to Cheltenham.
Unbeaten in a bumper, three hurdle races, and two chases, so it’s easy to see why he’s the fourth joint-favourite for the 2019 RSA Chase. However, he’ll have to buck a few trends as he’s only six and has yet to run at Cheltenham.
Owes his position in the market to being trained by Willie Mullins as he’s yet to jump a fence and has no previous Cheltenham experience. Rated 158 over hurdles though, which would be the highest hurdle rating in the field.
A big talking-horse before the start of the season and he got off the mark at the third time of asking over fences. The form of his first two defeats were boosted by the winner winning a Grade 1, whilst he also ran okay when finishing seventh in the Supreme Novice Hurdle at last year’s Cheltenham Festival. Yet to tackle three-miles but looks sure to relish the step-up in distance.
Who Might Win The 2019 RSA Chase?
It’s easy to see why Santini and Delta Work are so prominent in the market. Santini is trained by Nicky Henderson and running in the previous year’s Albert Bartlett has been a good pointer to many winners. Meanwhile, if Delta Work is as good as previous six-year-old winners Florida Pearl or Don Poli, it’s easy to imagine him following in the footsteps of last year’s winner Presenting Percy who also won the previous season’s Pertemps Handicap Final in the hands of Davy Russell.
However, at the prices, it could be worth chancing Lostintranslation. There surely can’t be a better trainer of three-mile chasers than Colin Tizzard, who has enjoyed much success with Native River, Thistlecrack, and Cue Card in recent seasons. Tizzard thinks Lostintranslation could be as good as that trio in time and he looks the value-bet at this stage now he’s proven himself at Cheltenham.
RSA Chase 2019 Ante-Post Tip
Lostintranslation @ 21.00 Coral, 17.00 Ladbrokes, Betvictor, BlackType, 888Sport