RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase (Cheltenham) Betting Tips & Preview – Wednesday 14th March 2018

Day 2’s RSA Chase provided one of the abiding memories from last year’s Festival, thanks to Might Bite giving his backers a heart attack in the straight before getting back up to win. We suspect this year’s edition will be a little more straight forward, but in racing you just never know.

The Irish have managed only a second and a third here in the past two editions, but we fancy they will be back in the winners enclosure this year.

Top Tips

Presenting Percy to win @ 9/4

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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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 heavy ground at the track will make this contest even tougher than usual this year.

GoingDistanceGradePrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Heavy 3m½f Grade 1 £175,000 10 1/4 1-3

Recent Winners

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

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

Analysis: Russell To Roar In RSA

This certainly looks a competitive renewal, with the likes of Monalee, Dounikos and Al Boum Photo tying in closely on form, and similarly there’s not much between Black Corton and Elegant Escape on their clashes this term.

Patrick’s Plotting To Succeed Once More?

Irishman Patrick Kelly doesn’t have all that many runners at the Cheltenham Festival, but those that he does send over from his Athenry base invariably merit the utmost respect. Successful here in the past two years with Mall Dini and Presenting Percy, he sends the last named in pursuit of more Cheltenham glory here. Last season’s Pertemps winner is three from five this term, including an impressive success in the Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle over this trip two starts back. Only beaten a length by Irish National winner Our Duke last time, he copes well with give underfoot and looks set to run a big race.

Bryony And Black Best Again?

Such has been the rate of progression of Black Corton over the last year, that even his trainer Paul Nicholls has seemed amazed at times. Racking up no fewer than eight wins since last June, this admirable seven year old has formed a prolific partnership with, jockey of the moment, Bryony Frost, and seems likely to put up yet another bold show here. Two visits to this track to date have yielded two wins, although he has perhaps been a little lucky, with his main rival making a crucial mistake at the final flight on each occasion. The fences are there to be jumped though and this one won’t be found wanting in that department. On the back of a cracking effort in the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices Chase last time out at Ascot, he will have plenty of supporters here.

Mon The One For De Bromhead

As good a jumper as Black Corton is, he may not be the best in this line-up. For us that honour would fall to the Henry De Bromhead runner, Monalee. Last season’s Albert Bartlett runner up always had the scope to make the Grade over the larger obstacles and has certainly made an encouraging start to his chasing career. An easy winner of a Beginners contest at Punchestown in November, he suffered a blip next time when a most uncharacteristic error saw him exit at the 10th in a Grade 1 novice at Leopardstown. The seven year old was quickly back on track when seeing off the re-opposing Al Boum Photo back at that venue last time out though. With confidence restored, he could prove very dangerous if getting into a rhythm at the head of affairs.

Final Verdict

Black Corton looked better than ever when allowed to dictate matters last time out, but with Monalee in the line-up, he is unlikely to be able to employ the same tactics here - not without considerable hassle anyway. We would prefer the Nicholls runner over Monalee, especially at double his price, but it is the favourite who will be carrying our cash.

The one to side with is Presenting Percy. Patrick Kelly is as shrewd as they come when readying one for Festival glory and proved his prowess with this horse last season. We would expect Davy Russell to keep well out of the likely pace battle up front to come through with a late, race winning move.

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