Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Cheltenham 2010: RSA Chase

The RSA Chase will take place on 17th March 2010 and as ever, will feature nineteen fences spread over 3 miles 110 yards. The race is for novices aged five or older and was last year won by Scoop Troop tip Cooldine (pictured right) in impressive fashion. Winning connections will pick up £85,515 for victory - Scoop!

With 34 runners left after last week’s scratchings, there’s still a little thinning to be done in this field. Seven is the number in terms of age, as eight of the last ten winners have been seven years old, including all of the last three. That’s probably a bit too narrow, so we’ll expand a little. Star de Mohaison is the only party pooper in the last ten years, winning the race aged five, but to find another five year old winner, you have to go back to 1950 and the last winner who was older than eight was Minnehoma in 1992, aged nine. Six year olds don’t fare too much better, with no wins in the last ten and just two wins in the last thirty renewals. Seven and eight year olds it is then.

Another important trend is chasing experience – all of the last ten winners of the RSA Chase had run at least three times over fences. This allows me to confidently rule out a few more, including the highly fancied Punchestowns (left) and Diamond Harry, as well as the Pricewise pick Uimhiraceathair.

Preparation for the race is extremely important and horses must be coming into the RSA Chase in some kind of form – 32 of the last 35 winners had finished first or second last time out. With this in mind, plus the news that Pandorama has been declared by connections as “highly unlikely” to run after pulling a muscle, the field can be further reduced to twelve.

Interestingly, the last ten winners of the race had a total of 43 runs in chases between them, with just four falls/unseats and the last five winners all had a 100% record in completing the course. Using this knowledge I feel comfortable eliminating Jandali and Little Josh, as they both have two falls to their name.

Apt Approach doesn’t impress me at all. The horse looks held by stablemate Citizen Vic (right) on form and has failed to win a race over further than 17 furlongs, which raises stamina questions. I’m not a fan of The Package either and the fact that the horse hasn’t run since the start of December will definitely count against it. Lines through these two.

Knockara Beau hasn’t had a proper race in ages, running in tiny fields and he’s been twice beaten by Weird Al. Last time out he was two and a half lengths behind off level weights. I’m also not keen on Ogee, whose routine win last time out didn’t do anything to impress me and who was soundly beaten by Long Run and Tazbar at Kempton, who I’ve already ruled out.

This leaves me with the following five, who I’m really struggling to separate: Weapon’s Amnesty, Hey Big Spender, Clan Tara, Citizen Vic and Weird Al. It’s time to go with the gut.

I really liked Cooldine last year. The horse, trained by Willie Mullins, won the PJ Moriarty Chase en route to winning the RSA Chase. Although not much of a trial for the RSA, it was also won by 1998’s RSA winner Florida Pearl, a horse also trained by Mullins. Due to the strong record of Mullins runners in this race (eight runners in the last eleven years; three winners, two seconds and three unplaced, all of which fell whilst still in contention) I’m inclined to favour Citizen Vic (best price 33/1, widely available). I do quite like Weird Al (seen above, best price 11/1, Paddy Power and William Hill) though I think the horse’s inexperience means a small bet is the way forward.

RSA Chase
Wednesday 17th March, 14.40
Citizen Vic – 0.5 pts e/w
Weird Al – 0.5 pts e/w

No comments: