RSA Chase

The RSA Chase takes place at 2.10pm on the second day of the meeting and is considered the leading race for staying novice chasers. The race will be broadcast on ITV Racing and Racing TV.

The 3m½f contest has been won by the likes of Denman, Bobs Worth and Lord Windermere who have all gone on to land the Cheltenham Gold Cup in recent years.

Length of race – The race is run over 3m½f.
Where to watch – RTV and ITV.
When to watch – Wednesday, March 13 at 2.10pm.
Prize money – Last year’s race was worth £175,000.
Course – The race is run on the old course at Cheltenham.
Race type – The RSA Chase is a Grade 1 for novice chasers. Mares can participate if connections wish.
Weights – Most horses will run off level weights carrying 11st 7lb, while mares get a 7lb allowance. Four-year-olds get an 8lb allowance.
Ages – Horses aged five and over can compete in the RSA Chase.
Sponsor – RSA Insurance have sponsored the race since 2009.

 

Past 10 winners:

 

Year Horse Previous form Age Price Trainer Jockey
2018 Presenting Percy 13112 7 5-2F Pat Kelly Davy Russell
2017 Might Bite 7-21F1 8 7-2F Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville
2016 Blaklion 4F121 7 8-1 Nigel Twiston-Davies Ryan Hatch
2015 Don Poli 11-211 6 13-8F Willie Mullins Bryan Cooper
2014 O’Faolains Boy 14-2P1 7 12-1 Rebecca Curtis Barry Geraghty
2013 Lord Windermere 22123 7 8-1 Jim Culloty Davy Russell
2012 Bobs Worth 11-132 7 9-2 Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty
2011 Bostons Angel 21411 7 16-1 Jessica Harrington Robbie Power
2010 Weapon’s Amnesty 3F122 7 10-1 Charles Byrnes Davy Russell
2009 Cooldine 4-8131 7 9-4F Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh

 

Race stats

  • Did not run on the Flat, 10/10
  • Top-three finish last time out, 10/10
  • Contested a Graded chase, 10/10 (six won)
  • Adjusted RPR of at least 160, 9/10
  • Last ran between 24 and 53 days ago, 9/10
  • Ran at least three times over fences, 9/10
  • Six to 12 hurdles and chase runs, 8/10
  • Aged seven, 8/10
  • Rated within 10lb of RPR top-rated, 8/10 (only one was top-rated)

Other factors

  • Of the combined 46 chase starts of winners, only 2016 scorer Blaklion had finished outside the first three (four had fallen)
  • Eight winners had previously run at the festival – five ran in the Albert Bartlett (1P14P), one in the Martin Pipe (1), one in the Pertemps Final (1) and one in the Bumper two years earlier (7)
  • Pat Taaffe is the leading jockey in the history of the race with five victories. Those wins came on Coneyburrow (1953), Solfen (1960), Grallagh Cnoc (1961), Arkle (1963) and Proud Tarquin (1970).
  • Willie Mullins and Fulke Walwyn are the joint leading trainers in the race with four wins apiece. Walwyn won it with Mountain Prince (1948), On View (1951), Glenbeigh (1954) and Mandarin (1957), while Mullins was victorious with Florida Pearl (1998), Rule Supreme (2004), Cooldine (2009) and Don Poli (2015).

Key Trials

For British-trained RSA candidates, the Grade 2 Ladbrokes John Francome Novices’ Chase at Newbury in December is a key first trial, while the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase on Boxing Day at Kempton is usually a good indicator for Cheltenham credentials. The Grade 2 Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase at Ascot is another contest that has been used as a stepping stone for candidates ahead of the RSA Chase.
In Ireland, the Neville Hotels Novice Chase is a well-used trial for the RSA, and was won by Don Poli in 2014. The Grade 1 Flogas Novice Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival has been used as a stepping stone en route to victory at Cheltenham by the likes of Florida Pearl and Cooldine.

What happened last year?

Presenting Percy, sent off the 5-2 favourite for trainer Pat Kelly, won impressively by seven lengths from Grade 1 scorer Monalee and subsequent Welsh Grand National victor Elegant Escape. View the RSA Chase result and replay here.

Where can I get Cheltenham Festival tickets?

Cheltenham Festival tickets can be purchased from the official festival website here.

RSA Chase Tip

Gordon Elliott was hot on Delta Work coming into this season and the gelding is three from three. I’m not convinced he’s an absolute world-beater but he’s very clever over his fences and he won the Pertemps last year, so ticks plenty of boxes. On ability alone Santini has every chance and he’ll be well suited to the track, while Topofthegame has all the potential in the world, but he needs to mature.
(Cathal Gahan)

Forecast
1. Delta Work, 2. Santini, 3. Topofthegame

View the racecard and place your bets here.