RSA Novices' Chase Betting Tips, Preview & Trainer Quotes
RSA Novices’ Chase Tips
The Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase is the second race of Day 2 at the Cheltenham Festival which looks one of the more difficult races of the festival to identify definite runners in and it seems likely that the favourite Monkfish will scare off some of the competition.
When & Where To Watch The Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase
13.55 Wednesday, March 17 - LIVE ON: ITV Racing, RTE Racing, Racing TV
The Irish Contenders
The Willie Mullins trained Monkfish bids to become the first horse since Bobs Worth to win The Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase having won the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle the previous year. He still looked a big raw horse in his novice hurdle campaign and won at the Cheltenham Festival despite making a bad blunder at the eighth hurdle. He was strongly pressed on both sides on the run in but repelled both Latest Exhibition and Fury Road to win by a neck at the finish. He is unbeaten this season over fences with his wins including a 3 length victory over Latest Exhibition in the Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown at Christmas; a race that the stables Don Poli won en route to RSA Chase glory.
Many thought Monkfish may struggle dropped back down in trip to 2m5f for the Flogas Novice Chase but he in fact beat old foe Latest Exhibition by further in the race than previously. He travelled strongly throughout the race with his exquisite jumping putting all of his rivals under pressure from a long way out. It is worth remembering that Grade 1 winning hurdler Asterion Forlonge and Grade 3 winning chaser Andy Dufresne were both beaten over 17 lengths in the contest so the form looks exceptionally strong. The stable used this race as a prep for both Florida Pearl and Cooldine in the past and he has very little negatives going into the race this year.
Latest Exhibition is yet to finish out of the first two in his 11 race career with five of those resulting in victory. He finished a neck 2nd behind Monkfish in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at the festival last year and made a winning debut over fences defeating Kim Muir fancy School Boy Hours. Since that run he has been defeated in graded races by Pencilfulloflead and Monkfish and looks vulnerable for win purposes. He does still hold entries in the Marsh Novices’ Chase and the National Hunt Chase but connections have also stated that missing the festival and targeting the Ryanair Gold Cup at Fairyhouse may also be an option.
The Robcour owned Penchilfulloflead has the option of this race and the National Hunt Chase at the festival but this Grade 2 winner appears to have had his limitations exposed in his last two runs. He failed to concede 7lb to the talented mare Colreevy over 2m4f at Limerick before jumping poorly at Naas last time behind Eklat De Rire giving that rival 8lbs. Trainer Gordon Elliott is yet to win this race and it doesn’t seem likely for him to break his duck with this Shantou gelding this year.
Henry De Bromhead has resisted the temptation to over-face Eklat De Rire so far in his career but would be a fascinating contender if allowed to take his chance in this race. He was defeated on his first start under rules over a trip too short before winning a maiden hurdle impressively at Thurles last year. Connections wasted no time sending this seven-year-old over the larger obstacles and he made an impressive chasing debut when conceding both fitness and experience to School Boy Hours at Punchestown.
He looked a strong stayer over 3m1f on heavy ground that day but showed more pace when making all under Rachel Blackmore at Naas in a Grade 3 last time over 3 miles. All of his starts under rules have had heavy in the description which would be a slight question mark but he did win his PTP on what was described as yielding to soft ground.
Gordon Elliott looks to hold a strong hand in the National Hunt Chase with Galvin, Escaria Ten and Coko Beach all being targeted at the race but they would hold small place claims if running here and the remainder of Envoi Allen (Marsh), Colreevy (Limerick or Mares Chase) and Chatham Street Lad (Handicap) all appear to be heading elsewhere.
The UK Contenders
With Royal Pagaille in the same ownership as the favourite Monkfish, it looks extremely unlikely for him to take up his engagement here and is more likely to run in either the Gold Cup or National Hunt Chase this year. That said, we are still a month away and injuries occur so it would be risky for him not to be included in this preview. Despite still only being a seven year old, the Venetia Williams trained gelding is an experienced chaser who has had eleven runs over fences.
He is unbeaten this season with his three wins accumulating winning distances of over 26 lengths. His most recent win came in the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase off a mark of 156 which earned him a 10lb rise from the handicapper. That rating of 166 actually puts him ahead of Monkfish on figures so that gives you an idea of his quality and the reason as to why he is a single figure price with most bookmakers for the Wellchild Cheltenham Gold Cup this year.
“A chaser in the making” and “anything he does over hurdles will be a bonus” were both phrases used multiple times last season when describing The Big Breakaway but his season hasn’t exactly gone to plan. This may in part be due to the poor form of the Colin Tizzard stable for most of the season but he thankfully appears to be turning a corner at present. This son of Getaway arrived at the Cheltenham Festival last season unbeaten but looked outpaced over the intermediate trip when only 4th behind Envoi Allen in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
He jumped really well over this course and distance on his chasing debut when an impressive 10 length winner but looked woefully outpaced over 2m3f at Exeter on his next start when beaten at 2/9 only three weeks later. The Big Breakaway ran a career best according to RPRs last time when 2nd in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton despite never travelling or jumping with fluency throughout. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him run in some sort of headgear at the festival but his chance looks limited especially given that only 3 six year olds have won this race since 1979.
Another possible from the Colin Tizzard yard is Fiddlerontheroof who is entered here but may also have the option of handicaps off a mark of 148. He is yet to finish out of the top two in small field races this season but burst a blood vessel last time in the Grade 2 Hampton Novices’ Chase at Warwick when second behind Next Destination in receipt of 5lbs. He looks unlikely to be able to reverse form with the Paul Nicholls trained runner but could be interesting again at the trip in one of the handicaps.
Next Destination moved from Willie Mullins to Paul Nicholls but pleasingly looks to retain all of his old ability despite having 920 days off the track. He is unbeaten in two chases this season with both victories coming in Grade 2 contests. He has jumped well over the larger obstacles and looks a strong stayer at the trip if connections decide to run here rather than the National Hunt Chase over further. He has previous festival form with a 4th place finish in the Champion Bumper and a 3rd in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle in recent years over what we now know to be distances too short. No nine-year-olds have won this race since 1992 but he still remains lightly raced (11 runs under rules) for his age and should hold strong place claims this year.
A few others of note who have the option of handicaps would be impressive Ffos Las winner Lieutenant Rocco, last year’s Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle fourth Happygolucky and the ultra consistent Paint The Dream who could all hold place claims at big prices if allowed to take their chance.
The price looks the only reason to be looking for alternatives against Monkfish in this race and given he has no concerns about the trip, track or ground and has beaten graded winners en route to the festival over fences this year he looks a “banker” to me.
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