Known as the chief novice race for potential Gold Cup winners, the RSA Chase is seen by many as a stepping stone for greater things.
Last year’s winner Bobs Worth is one of the leading contenders for the Gold Cup in 2013 and he epitomised what is required from an RSA winner. It’s certainly a case of guts rather than glamour for this race as only the toughest horses come through this slug-fest.
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This year’s race revolves around one horse, the David Pipe-trained Dynaste, who is leading the ante-post markets at 5/2 with an array of bookmakers, including Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and Coral.
Thus far in his chasing career he has been simply faultless. Much like his stablemate Grands Crus, who was a beaten favourite for this race in 2012, he seems to have a huge engine and a fantastic ability to jump fences.
He burst onto the scene at the start of the season when he thrashed Fingal Bay at Cheltenham, showing a great turn to foot to put the race to bed.
He then won the Fuller’s London Pride Novices’ Chase at Newbury in fine style before showing his real RSA credentials in the Grade One Feltham Chase at Kempton Park. Taking a bit of a tug before easing closer to the front, he took the lead with a spectacular jump four out and put the race to bed in a matter of strides.
This was the best novice performance of the season thus far and the bookmakers ran for cover, cutting his price from 6/1 into 5/2.
However, Feltham Novices Chase winner has a disastrous record as all 17 winners that have attempted the RSA/Feltham double have come up short, including Grands Crus last season. Long Run, the future Gold Cup winner, amongst many other very well fancied Feltham winners have all been beaten.
Put simply, Kempton and Cheltenham are two very different courses and it takes different levels of stamina to success at both courses.
Dynaste is likely to be given an alternative entry at Cheltenham in the Jewson Novice Chase over 2m4f and at this stage connections are reluctant to commit to either event; so keep that in mind if planning to back him for this race.
Willie Mullins has a terrific record in the RSA Chase as he has won this race with Florida Pearl, Supreme and Cooldine but his place record really adds an extra shine having also saddled Alexander Banquet and Snowy Morning to finish second in recent seasons.
He looks to have the real challenger to Dynaste this year in the form of Boston Bob, who finished second in last year’s Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle – a race that has a rich tradition of providing good horses for the RSA Chase.
The vibes have been strong about Boston Bob’s work at home this season but in truth he has yet to transfer that to the racecourse, which is why you can still get 8/1 with Paddy Power on his RSA chances.
He only finished half a length in front of You Must Know Me at Naas on his reappearance but there should be plenty more to come from the Mullins-trained warrior. The Irish trainer really is the king at preparing a horse for this race and confidence should be very high for Boston Bob’s chances at 8/1.