Irish Well Represented in RSA Chase
The £130,000 Grade One RSA Chase, run over an extended three miles on the second day of The Festival, Ladies Day, Wednesday, March 14 has attracted 36 entries.
In 2011, Jessica Harrington’s Bostons Angel narrowly got the better of fellow Irish-raider Jessies Dream in a pulsating finish up the famous Cheltenham Hill.
This year’s renewal will hinge on the participation of Grands Crus, who has also been entered in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup following a remarkable performance in the Grade One Feltham Novices’ Chase at Kempton Park over Christmas. He easily accounted for Silviniaco Conti and Bobs Worth that day, but the return to Cheltenham is expected to help the latter, who won the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle last year.
Irish-trained runners have won the past three renewals, and they are well represented again with 19 entries, six of whom hail from the yard of Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins. The pick of his contingent could be Allee Garde, who was third behind Philip Fenton’s Last Instalment in the Grade One Fort Leney Novices’ Chase over Christmas. The sextet is completed by Gowran Park winner Call The Police, high-class novice hurdler Lambro, the lightly-raced Soll, Fairyhouse scorer Up The Beat and last season’s Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle winner Sir Des Champs, who won a Grade Two at Limerick over Christmas.
Other leading Irish-trained contenders include last season’s Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle winner First Lieutenant, who was runner-up to Last Instalment at Leopardstown, and Tony Martin’s Bog Warrior, who trounced the opposition in the Grade One Drinmore Novices’ Chase by 31 lengths. Other notable Irish entries include Noel Meade’s Medical Card, who won a Grade Two at Naas and the 2010 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle winner Berties Dream.
Paul Nicholls won the RSA Chase in 2007 with Denman and this year he looks to have a leading chance with Join Together, who has gained two chase victories at Cheltenham after falling on debut at Chepstow. Nicholls could also saddle high-class French hurdler Cristal Bonus.
Nicky Henderson has entered Mossley, while Martin Keighley could run Champion Court, who showed a very likeable attitude when winning the Grade Two Cheltenham Pony Club Raceday Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on New Years Day.
Other notable entries include Alan King’s Walkon, who was runner-up in the 2009 Triumph Hurdle, and the Tim Vaughan-trained Saint Are, a winner of last year’s Grade One Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.
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