Preview of the RSA Trial Novices' Chase and Free Racing Tips – With the Cheltenham Festival less than a month away, the RSA Trial Novices’ Chase at Ascot, is the perfect opportunity to test the Festival claims of some of the runners that line up. A trio of runners hold entries in the RSA and plenty will be learnt about their respective chances after this contest. Here's my preview and tip.
Last time out, Ely Brown (7/1 Coral) was sure-footed and relentless as he took advantage of a stumble from favourite Green Flag in the Towton Novices’ Chase. He was a lucky winner of the race, with Shutthefrontdoor a late withdrawal, but take nothing away from this gutsy horse, who has been victorious in all but one of his races this season. On his other outing he disappointed in a hurdle race at Haydock, finishing well behind the winner Gevrey Chambertin. He is one of the most popular horses in Charlie Longsdon's yard, and it looks like this could be his prep run before he lines up in the four mile National Hunt Chase come March.
Despite still yet to jump a steeplechase fence in public, Gevrey Chambertin (11/4 Ladbrokes) could book his place in the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival with a big performance in this race. This gutsy grey was a winner of a valuable brush hurdle race at Haydock on Betfair Chase day, and while other trainers are praying for an improvement in the weather, soft ground holds no fears for the David Pipe trained eight year old. Different concerns do exist though, first of which is that this horse has been off the course for over two months, and although he's shown no previous trouble over testing conditions, it might just be a bit too much on his comeback. Furthermore, until I've seen him jump a fence cleanly in public, he is a risky betting proposition and I think he is best watched for now.
The ever-so consistent Third Intention (10/1 BetVictor) started off this season’s campaign with a victory over the well-regarded Irish trained Rebel Fitz at Cheltenham. He's finished placed in all three other runs this season, in some high class fields and just seems the type to fall short of the victory. He does have some decent form from last season, most notably finishing runner up to Dynaste and Captain Conan in Novice Chases. He also acts on this type of ground, and could well be the forgotten horse of the race.
Oliver Sherwood's MANY CLOUDS (9/4 bet365) suffered a minor setback recently but is back in full exercise now and heading for this Grade 2 event. Last time out he beat the Donald McCain trained Indian Castle easily at Wetherby and McCain's youngster beat Feltham winner Annacotty at Cheltenham at the end of January. On this form he looks to be a high class and exciting prospect who should have strong claims for victory. His trainer has been in a rich run of form recently too, as has his jockey Leighton Aspell. The ground will not be a problem either, as the horse has won on both soft and heavy before. For me, he is one of the best novice chasers around this season, and although he faces a couple of tough opponents, he looks like he will be hard to beat here.
Once again, Barry Geraghty takes the mount on the Rebecca Curtis trained O´Faolains Boy (8/1 Betfred), and connections will be hoping the horse can put his last disappointing run behind him after being pulled up. His first start of the season saw him finish just over two lengths behind the Paul Nicholls trained Easter Day. His hurdle form is impressive, mostly so when finishing fourth behind stable mate At Fishers Cross in the Albert Bartlett at last season’s Festival. On his hurdle form, he has to be in with a shout, however on what he’s shown over fences he will fail to claim the win.
Baby Shine (6/1 Coral) is one that has taken to chasing well, having won on her last two occasions this season for trainer Lucy Wadham. The two victories weren't in the type of company she will face on this day, but she won them both really quite convincingly, looking like she had other gears to go through. She's sure to be tested in the race, and her true ability will be shown here.
Spike Mac (200/1 Stan James) makes up the field but looks to be out of his league here. He is still a maiden, who has never been in with a shout of winning a race.
Undoubtedly this is a competitive race which is guaranteed to provide vital Festival clues. MANY CLOUDS looks a talented horse, and if he performs well here, he will be one to watch come March. I can’t see him being beaten in this race, as Im confident that his class will carry him through. I doubt these testing conditions will be the same for the Festival, but connections need to run their horses, and this will be one of the last chances for many.
MANY CLOUDS (WIN) (9/4 bet365)
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