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.
Next Race: Wednesday, 17th March 2021
The next race is scheduled to run on 17th March 2021. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 11th March 2020
- Winner: Champ
- SP: 4/1
- Trainer: Nicky Henderson
- Jockey: Barry Geraghty
The trip is 3m½f for this Grade 1 Novice Chase event which offers £175,000 in guaranteed prize money. The ground at the track is currently described as soft, bringing stamina firmly into play and we should be in for a cracking race in this popular contest that has been won in the past by a number of future Gold Cup horses.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Soft||3m½f||Grade 1||£175,000||10 Runners||1/5 1-3|
RSA Novices’ Chase Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
There are a number of contests over the four days of this meeting in which Irish supremo Willie Mullins boasts a formidable record, including this classy chase affair. Successful four times in the past, Mullins needs just one more win to be become the outright all-time leading trainer in the event. Mullins sends three to post this time around, in the shape of Allaho, Easy Game and Castlebawn West and so he will fancy his chances, even if, ultimately, we think he will have at least another year to wait before making the record his own.
The seven year olds have much the best recent record in the race having landed eight of the past 10 renewals. That record may well be improved in 2020, with half of the 10-runner field being seven years of age – including the well fancied Minella Indo, who we predict will do the business.
Those towards the head of the market have been favoured in recent years, with seven of the past eight winners returning a single figure SP. Three winning favourites in the past 10 years would have been enough to sneak supporters of the market leader into profit, to the tune of 0.63 units. Not the biggest sum but better than a kick in the teeth!
|Champ||3/1||153||Nicky Henderson||Barry Geraghty|
|Copperhead||7/2||155||Colin Tizzard||Harry Cobden|
|Minella Indo||7/2||147||Henry De Bromhead||Rachael Blackmore|
|Allaho||9/2||152||Willie Mullins||Paul Townend|
Sir Tony McCoy entered the winner’s enclosure just the once in this race, when guiding Alberta’s Run, who would go on to win the Ryanair twice, to victory in 2008, and whilst McCoy of course won’t be winning the race this year, the horse named in his honour may well do, with the Nicky Henderson-trained, Champ, currently heading the betting.
Going in the green and gold silks of one of McCoy’s loyalist supporters, JP McManus, Champ will be making a second Cheltenham Festival appearance having run well to finish second in last season’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. That’s high-class form, and the early evidence would suggest that this sone of King’s Theatre will prove to be at least as effective over the larger obstacles.
Having won a Grade 2 chase on just his second start over fences, and already scored over this trip as a hurdler, he does have to bounce back from a fall last time out, but would otherwise look to have plenty in his favour. 3/1 is perhaps a little skinny in a really tight race but he has plenty of appeal for sure.
One who seems to be coming in for plenty of support headed into the race is the Colin Tizzard-trained, Copperhead. Tizzard is yet to land this prize, but will have high hopes of breaking his duck with this six year old son of Sulamani.
Copperhead did take a while to come to the boil last season, but having landed his final two starts over the smaller obstacles, hopes were understandably high headed into his debut season over fences. Whilst he hadn’t quite figured out how to jump properly on his chase debut at Chepstow, he has proven to be a quick learner - landing each of his three subsequent starts in good style.
It is the most recent of those victories which earmarks him as a leading contender here, as it takes a pretty good horse to slam a Grade 2 field by 17-lengths as he did in the Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot last time out. He’s the joint top-rated runner in the field on the back of that effort, and likely won’t be far away.
MINELLA INDO (7/2)
For fans of runners with previous winning form at the Cheltenham Festival, then the one to side with would look to be the Henry De Bromhead-trained Minella Indo. This one wasn’t at all fancied headed into last season’s Albert Bartlett Hurdle, but 50/1 or not, he stayed on best of all to pull two lengths clear at the line in what is invariably the most stamina-sapping novice event of the meeting.
That stamina will certainly stand this seven year old in good stead here, and whilst he has enjoyed a relatively low-key preparation, there was plenty to like about his first success over fences at Navan last time out.
He was made to work pretty hard for a 2/5 shot that day, but looked to be pulling away at the line, and the likelihood is that he will strip considerably fitter for his big target of the season. There are plenty of likeable sorts in here, but the proven stamina and festival form of this one just sees him top our list. At slightly longer odds than the market principle, he’s the one for us on a day where stamina will be much-needed.
The form of the Willie Mullins-trained Allaho ties in pretty closely with that of Minella Indo from their hurdling days, and on that evidence this six year old, who goes in the famous Cheveley Park Stud silks, would look to have a bit to find.
Nine lengths adrift of the De Bromhead runner in the Albert Bartlett here, he then closed that gap in the big Grade 1 Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival, but still went down by two lengths at the line. That doesn’t bode overly well but there are some reasons to suggest he may have more to offer.
Overall, he will likely need to be a better chaser than he was a hurdler if he is to take this, but the early signs have been encouraging in that regard. Running an excellent race to be second to stablemate Easy Game on his chase debut in December, he then stepped up on that when sauntering fully 21-lengths clear at Fairyhouse last time out. Possessing plenty of stamina, and with further improvement likely, he is expected to be involved at the business end.
RSA Novices’ Chase Winners
|2020||Champ||4/1||Nicky Henderson||Barry Geraghty|
|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|
About The RSA Novices’ Chase: Often A Key Step For Gold Cup Glory
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|
|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|
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.
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
|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.