RSA Novices’ Chase Betting Tips, Stats & History

The RSA Chase is the top staying chase for Novices at Cheltenham, run on the second day of The Festival over 3 miles and ½ furlong. The inaugural running was in 1946 when the race was called the Broadway Novices' Chase, named after the picturesque village on the edge of the Cotswolds in Worcesteshire.

Many winners of this race go on to compete for the Cheltenham Gold Cup later in their careers with dual champions including Lord Windermere, Bobsworth and the mighty Denman.

Race Info

The best staying Novice chasers in the game battle it out for £175,000 in total prize money in this Grade 1 contest over 3m½f. A stiff enough test as it is, the likely soft ground at the track will make this contest all the more gruelling, as will the gusty wind forecast.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Good to Soft 3m½f Grade 1 £175,000 12 Runners 1/4 1-3

RSA Chase Betting Tips

Cheltenham, 14:10, Wednesday 13th March 2019

Day 2’s RSA Chase provided a truly spectacular performance from winner Presenting Percy last year. A performance so good that he immediately rocketed to the head of the 2019 Gold Cup market. This year’s edition looks very competitive on paper, but perhaps another superstar will emerge.

This contest went the way of the previous year’s Pertemps winner 12 months ago, and hopefully it will be a case of history repeating in 2019.

Seven has been the magic number when seeking the winner here, with eight of the past 10 editions being landed by a seven year old. Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins are the only trainers to win the race more than once over this period.

Traditionally just about the best novice contest of this meeting – three Gold Cup winners have come out of the race in the past nine years – the 2019 edition looks to be well up to scratch. Featuring a number of the most highly regarded novices from the top British and Irish yards this looks all set to be a thriller.

Elliott Runner To Make Rivals Work?

Gordon Elliott is a trainer renowned for his success with his staying chasers, but he is yet to land this prize. There are plenty who believe Elliott will put that right this year as it is his runner, Delta Work, who heads the betting here. Already a winner at this meeting having clung on by a nose to land the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle here last year – the same race Presenting Percy took prior to claiming this prize in such style – he has already taken his form to new heights over fences. A perfect three from three over the larger obstacles, with two of those successes coming in Grade 1 company, he fully deserves his place towards the head of the market.

The Great Santini?

The claims of the Paul Nicholls runner Topofthegame can’t be dismissed, but of the British runners from towards the head of the market, the one we like best is Nicky Henderson’s Santini. This horse has long held a lofty reputation and headed into last year’s Festival as market leader for the Albert Bartlett Hurdle. He could manage only third that day, but in common with Delta Work looks an improved operator over fences. Behind Topofthegame at Kempton last time out, he was only really beginning to make inroads close home, and as such can be fancied to turn the tables at this much stiffer track.

Lane To Lead The Way

One of the more interesting runners amongst those at bigger prices is the Rebecca Curtis representative Drovers Lane. Curtis won this back in 2014 with O’Faolains Boy, and it looks interesting that this one heads here rather than to the JLT on what will be his first start since a wind op. By Oscar, who has sired the winner of this twice in the past six years, he travelled supremely well throughout when scoring over 2m4½f at this track last time out. The one concern with this one would be the going as he is unproven on soft ground (not certain to suit on breeding) but he is certainly one to bear in mind, particularly should the rain stay away.

Final Verdict: Delta Work To Win

Santini is clearly a talented and stamina-laden performer and he will no doubt be making late inroads in the home straight here. Cheltenham will certainly suit more than Kempton but the worry is that he may still have too much to do.

It’s Delta Work for us here. His Irish form looks strong, he stays well and we fancy he possesses the gears to forge and keep a lead in this one.

Recent Winners

2019 Topofthegame 4/1 Paul Nicholls Harry Cobden
2018 Presenting Percy 5/2 Patrick Kelly Davy Russell
2017 Might Bite 7/2 Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville
2016 Blaklion 8/1 Nigel Twiston-Davies Ryan Hatch
2015 Don Poli 13/8 Willie Mullins Bryan Cooper
2014 O’Faolains Boy 12/1 Rebecca Curtis Barry Geraghty
2013 Lord Windermere 8/1 Jim Culloty Davy Russell
2012 Bobs Worth 9/2 Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty
2011 Bostons Angel 16/1 Jessica Harrington Robbie Power
2010 Weapon's Amnesty 10/1 Charles Byrnes Davy Russell

About the RSA Novices’ Chase: Often a Key Step For Gold Cup Glory

Cheltenham Racecourse from Park Lane
Photo © Michael Dibb (cc-by-sa/2.0) (Image Cropped)

It takes a lot to make a Cheltenham Gold Cup horse. Every single winner of National Hunt’s blue riband race is the product of a tremendous feat of training that includes several different people working hard at the yard and the culmination of many high class performances. Those performances can come in any number of different races and the RSA Chase is right up there with the most important steps towards Gold Cup success.

Gold Cup Success Starts Here?

This Grade 1 race has provided several winners who have gone on to win the Gold Cup including Cheltenham legends such as Bobs Worth, Denman and Arkle. Countless others have come through the RSA Chase to win other Grade 1 steeplechases without actually winning what many believe to be the most prestigious chase for novices of the year.

Dual RSA Chase & Gold Cup Winners: 1946 - 2019

Horse Trainer RSA Chase Win Gold Cup Win(s)
Lord Windermere Jim Culloty 2013 2014
Bobs Worth Nicky Henderson 2012 2013
Denman Paul Nicholls 2007 2008
Looks Like Trouble Noel Chance 1999 2000
Garrison Savannah Jenny Pitman 1990 1991
Master Smudge Arthur Barrow 1979 1980
Ten Up Jim Dreaper 1974 1975
Arkle Tom Dreaper 1963 1964, 1965, 1966
Mandarin Fulke Walwyn 1957 1962

There are many reasons why the RSA Chase is such a good guide for future Gold Cup success. At three miles and one furlong it is a serious test of stamina, but the biggest challenge for the relatively inexperienced chasers competing comes with the jumping. It is a rarity that the race goes by without at least a couple horses either falling or being pulled up by their jockey so it really does tend to produce winners of the highest calibre.

RSA Chase Trends

That the RSA Chase is a race that pits the best improving chasers against each other is made clear by the fact that there has not been a winner aged over eight since 1992. RSA horses have almost always shown a lot of promise before they make the trip to Prestbury Park so those who have spent more than a few seasons over hurdles or who have not at least placed at Grade 1 or 2 level in a novice chase need not apply.

Chart Showing Ages of RSA Chase Winners Between 1946 and 2019

Hurdling Form Worth Noting

That said, hurdling form should not be completely ignored. Ideally you would want to be backing a horse who reached an official rating of 130 or higher as a hurdler but their first few performances in steeplechases are worthy of much more consideration. Specifically, shrewd punters always keep an eye on those who ran well in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton, the Dr PJ Moriarty Novice Chase at Leopardstown and the Reynoldstown Novices' Chase at Ascot.

RSA Chase Prep Race Results: 2017/18 - 2019/20

Race Season Winner Second Third
Kauto Star Nov' Chase 2019/20 Slate House Black Op Danny Whizzbang
2018/19 La Bague Au Roi Topofthegame Santini
2017/18 Black Corton Elegant Escape West Approach
PJ Moriarty Nov' Chase 2019/20 Faugheen Easy Game Tornado Flyer
2018/19 La Bague Au Roi Kaiser Black Hardline
2017/18 Monalee Al Boum Photo Invitation Only
Reynoldstown Nov' Chase 2019/20 Copperhead Two For Gold Danny Whizzbang
2018/19 Mister Malarky Now McGinty Yalltari
2017/18 Black Corton Ms Parfois Mount Mews

The most travelled routes to the RSA Chase have changed since the race was introduced to the Cheltenham Festival as the Broadway Novices’ Chase. It was known as the Totalisator Champion Novices' Chase for many years when the Tote were the sponsors. The name changes have continued since the Tote’s relationship ended even though it has technically been sponsored by the same company as RSA Insurance were called Sun Alliance and Royal & Sun Alliance.

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