Cheltenham – RSA Chase

A race that is often thought of as the novices Gold Cup, but of the recent winners only Looks Like Trouble and Denman have gone on to land the premier prize in steeplechasing. This could be down to the fact that this is a very tough race for novices which often results in a tough battle of attrition that can take an awful lot out of a horse and take them a long time to recover from.

With some connections not wishing their classier horses to have had a hard race over three miles they are running them in the Arkle (2M) instead, it has become a trait that it is not always the classiest horse that wins this race – but there are a few criterion that should be met.

Most important is that the horse has enough experience over fences in what as we know is a tough race and all of the last eleven winners had raced at least three times over fences with last year’s winner Weapon’s Amnesty having five outings before his Festival triumph. Experience is important and so is maturity with the vast majority of the winners being seven or older – there has been the odd “intruder” like Star De Mohaison as a five year old in 2006 and Florida Pearl in 1998 but generally it is best to look at those aged seven plus and people looking at the Cheltenham betting offers should remember this.

We kept mentioning this but the RSA Chase, like many at the Festival is again one of those races where it pays to have a horse with good recent form on your side, an amazing 22 of the last 23 winners have either finished first or second last time out, a record upheld last year and this should be of interest to people looking to bet on Cheltenham 2011.

Certain races over the National Hunt season often point the way to winners at the Festival, where runners/winners in them have a good record at the Festival – one race to avoid when looking for the winner of the RSA Chase is the Feltham Novices’ Chase run at Kempton, sadly that race was lost to the weather this year but it’s a point worth taking into account in the future.

The RSA Chase represents a tough attritional battle – get experience and good recent form on your side and you will have a decent chance of finding the winner.