2.10 RSA Insurance Novices' Chase Tips

Wednesday 11 March  |  Age: 5yo+  |  Prize: £175,000

The RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase is a Grade 1 chase held over just over three miles (3 miles and 80 yards). The race is open to novice chasers aged five and up, and during the race 19 fences are jumped by those taking part.

A TRUE test of stamina and jumping ability lies in store for these novice chasers where they will go at a fairly strong pace right from the off. 

It tends to be a horse with proven stamina who wins this but you also usually need a touch of class and jumping ability.  That's why my selection is perhaps a bit of a surprise.

I'm going for CHAMP to win this one and the surprises are that he fell last time out and is unproven over 3 miles but I just think that his sheer class will see him through.

I can't get my mind away from his win at Newbury in November which was like nothing I've ever seen before: he was badly hampered at one point and then was nearly ridden onto the wrong course on the run in before Barry Geraghty suddenly realised and the horse somehow managed to adjust and come back onto the correct course before winning.

He showed incredible ability that day and despite falling last time (when going well) I am backing him to come up trumps in this one.

If he was an even money shot I would be concerned but I think that 7-2 is a huge price for a horse as good as this and hopefully he can come roaring up the hill in front.

Recommended bet

MINELLA INDO did it the hard way when lifting the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle 12 months ago, hitting the front three out and grinding his rivals into submission at 50-1.

The Irish novice will not go off at such dismissive odds in the RSA Chase as he possesses the necessary attributes to handle this gruelling test.

Champ has been trading ante-post favourite for several months, even though he crashed out at the penultimate fence with the race at his mercy here on New Year’s Day.

Champ went down with flying colours in last year’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and has the engine to power up the hill – if still on his feet.

Mullins saddles Allaho and Easy Game, with little between them based on Leopardstown form over Christmas.

Paul Townend has opted to ride Allaho, an all-the-way winner at Fairyhouse in January, and is the stable No 1.

Copperhead has mopped up five of his last six starts and the Colin Tizzard-trained gelding makes up a strong home challenge supplemented by useful stablemate Slate House.

Recommended bet

This looks to be a cracking race, with the horses towards the front of the market all being the top staying hurdlers from last year.

Minella Indo won the Albert Bartlett, with Alaho finishing second on that day.

Champ finished second in last year’s Ballymore, before going to Aintree and winning the Grade 1 at the Grand National meeting. This year I wouldn’t be so confident based on what we’ve seen over fences.

Champ is too short in the market, based on his jumping ability. He’s got bags of potential, but he’s lazy and takes his eye off the ball, which was on show when he fell on trials day when in the lead.

You’ve got to be crazy to back him at those odds.

Of the other two, Alaho has had positive words being said about him for a few weeks, and the money has come in for him, but he did finish behind Easy Game on seasonal debut.

I like the look of BATTLEOVERDOYEN, who is trained by Gordon Elliott. His campaign this year has took a similar route to Delta Work’s route, who was Gordon’s main hope in the RSA last year.

He won the Neville’s chase at Leopardstown (wasn’t a vintage renewal), and then went to the Flogas Novice Chase (Delta Work was a NR in this race last year, due to the ground) where he fell at the last. That was over 2m 5f, and that seems too short for him, he seems more of a stayer so a return to 3m will suit.

He ran a creditable race up until that point, and probably would have finished 3rd behind Easy Game and Faugheen.

I think he’ll reverse the form with Easy Game, and he just seems to be a real stamina horse and 3m on softish ground around Cheltenham looks ideal.

Copperhead looks to have a nice chance; he destroyed the field on his run last time out. He jumps beautifully and stays the trip very well.

He doesn’t have the sexy profile as the Irish raiders, but he has bags of potential, but at 9/2 I think he’s too short.


Recommended bet

  • Battleoverdoyen e/w 11-1 (Bet365)
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Distance: 3m 80y
Type: Chase
Class: 1
Track: Turf
Minella Indo
J:Rachael Blackmore
T: H De Bromhead

J:P Townend
T: W P Mullins

J:B J Geraghty
T: N J Henderson

J:H Cobden
T: C L Tizzard

Easy Game
J:D E Mullins
T: W P Mullins

J:D N Russell
T: G Elliott

Slate House
J:R M Power
T: C L Tizzard

J:Nico de Boinville
T: N J Henderson

Aye Right
J:Callum Bewley
T: Mrs H O Graham

Castlebawn West
J:M P Walsh
T: W P Mullins

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