RSA Chase Tips - 2:10pm Cheltenham

The Brown Advisory Novice’s Chase (formerly known as the RSA) is a Grade One National Hunt chase which is open to horses aged five or older. Again run on the Old Course it is run over a distance of just over three miles and there are usually twenty fences to be jumped. Last year produced a memorable finish as Minella Indo and Allaho looked certain to fight out the finish. Both made dramatic last fence errors though which cost them valuable momentum and Champ was able to finish fast and late to grab the prize for Nicky Henderson, JP McManus and Barry Geraghty.

When looking at stats for the race favourites have only won three of the last ten renewals. The last six winners of this race have all been prominent in the betting market on the day and there have only been two double figured priced winners of the race in the last ten years (O’Faolain’s Boy at 12 in 2014 and Boston Angel in 2011). Only one six-year-old has won the race in the last decade whereby there have been two eight-year-old winners and seven seven-year-old winners. The UK trainers have a better recent record in this race than the Irish and have taken four of the last five renewals.

Monkfish is a previous Cheltenham Festival winner and has won his last six starts. He won his prep race at the Dublin Racing Festival with the minimum of fuss and he looked a monster throughout. He is proven at this trip and will be well suited by any softening of the ground. Running in the colour of Mrs Susanna Ricci, the seven-year-old is clearly at the top of his game right now. The switch to fences has brought about obvious further improvement and he deserves his place at the head of the market.

Royale Pagaille runs in the same ownership but is trained by Venetia Williams and not Willie Mullins. The seven-year-old looks more likely to contest the National Hunt Challenge Cup the day before where he would hold obvious strong claims. He absolutely loves it when the mud is flying and has improved some twenty-one pounds in the ratings since making his seasonal reappearance at Haydock this year and following three successive wins including the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase (Grade Two) he would rate as a very credible danger particularly if the ground were on the heavy side.

Envoi Allen and Latest Exhibition are more likely to take up alternative engagements but one that could very well turn up here is Next Destination. He moved to the yard of Paul Nicholls back in October and has now won two of his last three races including a couple of Grade Two races at Newbury and Warwick. He thrives in small runner fields, so if this race were to cut up badly, he would be suited by it. He won a Grade One Novice Hurdle at Punchestown over three miles back in 2018 and he was kept off the track from then until that October comeback for his new trainer. His form is not of the same standard as Monkfish but should anything untoward happen, he could well be the one to pick up the pieces.

The Big Breakaway was fourth in last seasons’ Ballymore at the Festival and then made a winning comeback on his seasonal reappearance over this course and distance. He has run twice again since finishing runner-up on both occasions although the Exeter run was over far too short a trip. Despite a last fence blunder, he was far from disgraced in the Grade One Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day and with this being his sole Festival entry, he looks destined to line up. The Tizzards will be keen to let him take his chance and I can certainly see him getting into the mix.

Chatham Street Lad holds an entry for this race and he has been in the form of his life this season. He won the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at this track back in December but this would represent a significant step up in trip and grade for the Michael Winters trained eight-year-old. He would need to deliver a career best performance against proven horses at this trip and that will prove a huge task.

Monkfish has been here and done it all before and is thriving on his racing at present. He looks as though he could potentially be a Gold Cup horse of the future and he has done absolutely nothing wrong. The quality of the opposition here whilst respected, just doesn’t appear to offer the same level of form that he has been operating at. He can make it two festival wins in a row for Susanna and Rich Ricci.

Punters Lounge Tip: Monkfish @ 5/6 at bet365 - Click Here To Bet
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